Fighting Low Survival Cancers

03 April 2018

The Andrews Labor Government will help Victoria’s leading cancer experts uncover the next generation of breakthroughs in fighting low survival cancers.

Minister for Health Jill Hennessy today announced $1.5 million from the Labor Government and $1 million from Cancer Council Victoria to support eight new research projects that focus on cancers with poor survival outcomes.

More people are surviving cancer than ever before. The five-year survival rate for Victorians diagnosed with cancer has increased from 48 per cent in 1986 to 68 per cent in 2016. But we need to find better treatments for low survival cancers so we can save even more lives.

Low survival cancers are defined as cancers with a five-year survival rate of less than 30 per cent. These include cancers of the pancreas, liver, lung, oesophagus, gallbladder, brain and unknown primary, mesothelioma and acute myeloid leukaemia.

These cancers make up nearly 20 per cent of all cancer diagnoses, yet represent more than 40 per cent of cancer deaths each year. This funding will support research projects targeting these cancers, as well as a number of other cancers with poor outcomes, such as ovarian and stomach cancer.

Cancer Council Victoria has also announced two post-doctoral fellowships into low-survival cancers today, to the amount of $151,000, to support Victorian scientists who have recently completed a PhD.

Meanwhile, the Victorian Cancer Agency is now accepting applications to two new targeted funding schemes to improve cancer outcomes for Aboriginal Victorians and people with upper gastrointestinal cancers. These will each receive $2 million over four years.

Applications for workforce funding are also invited from Victoria’s emerging leaders in cancer research to support early-career, mid-career and nursing and allied health researchers across a wide range of research areas.

The Labor Government’s Victorian cancer plan 2016-2020 has set an ambitious target of saving 10,000 lives from cancer by 2025. Since being established by the former Labor Government in 2006, the Victorian Cancer Agency has now invested over $190 million into translational cancer research.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“We need to do everything in our power to boost survival rates for all cancers. While Victoria has some of the best rates in the world – more research into these low survivor cancers, is central to saving the lives of Victorians.”

“We’ve got some of the best cancer research and clinical trials coming out of our state – our goal is to keep saving lives of patients here – and abroad.”

Quotes attributable to Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper

“Of the 33,000 Victorians diagnosed with cancer each year, about 24 per cent are told they have a cancer with low survival, meaning they have a less than 50 per cent chance of surviving five years or more after a diagnosis.”

“By investing in research we will build the capacity of the Victorian research sector into low survival cancers, grow the critical mass of researchers and, over time, drive improvements in survival.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

Was this page helpful?