Poster Presentation Clinical Oncology Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting 2017

Advocating to address inequity in research funding for low survival cancers (#201)

Esther Sadek 1 , Catriona Parker 1 2 , Tessa Penny 1 , Rachel Whiffen 1
  1. Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  2. Monash University , Melbourne , Victoria , Australia

Cancer Council Victoria’s (CCV) analysis of a Cancer Australia1 report into cancer research programs identified that low survival cancers with a five year survival rate of ≤30%, receive substantially less research funding compared to high incidence cancers (e.g. breast cancer and colorectal cancer). CCV’s analysis of this report indicated the disparity between low survival cancers and those with high survival is directly related to investment in research funding. Using this definition, low survival cancers include mesothelioma, pancreas, liver, lung, brain and stomach cancer and one in five Victorians were diagnosed with a low survival cancer in 20152. Over the last five years, 48.5% of total cancer deaths in Victoria resulted from low survival cancers2. CCV are concerned about the limited research investment into low survival cancers and the impact this has on survival outcomes for patients.

To advocate for dedicated, long-term research funding for low survival cancers, to address the inequities in research funding investment.

In 2016 CCV formed an alliance with 11 community and not-for-profit organisations to establish the Victorian Low Survival Cancers Alliance, creating a powerful partnership of advocates. The alliance surveyed Victorian clinicians to identify the barriers in undertaking research on low survival cancers. Results were used to communicate these barriers and to advocate for the need for increased investment into low survival cancers research.

The Alliance have undertaken a range of advocacy activities including letters to the Victorian Health Minister and written submissions to the Medical Research Future Fund and the Select Committee into Funding for Research into Cancers with Low Survival Rates. The Alliance will continue to undertake advocacy initiatives to improve funding for low survival cancers, grow the critical mass of researchers and ultimately improve survival outcomes for patients.

  1. Cancer Australia – An overview of funding to cancer research projects and research programs in Australia 2006 – 2011
  2. Victorian Cancer Registry 2014, Cancer in Victoria, Statistics and Trends 2014, Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne