Need for better coordinated care, says new President of The Cancer Council Australia

People diagnosed with cancer would benefit from a more coordinated approach to care and support services, according to the new President of The Cancer Council Australia, Mrs Judith Roberts AO.

“We need a greater emphasis on the multidisciplinary approach to treatment and care of cancer patients,” Mrs Roberts said. “Such an approach would help address the ‘cancer care lottery’ frequently highlighted by consumer groups.”

The Cancer Council CEO, Professor Alan Coates, welcomed Mrs Roberts’ election and said her strong advocacy and extensive experience in health and community organisations made her an ideal choice as President of The Cancer Council Australia.

Mrs Roberts and Professor Coates also paid tribute to the immediate past President, Professor Ray Lowenthal, who they said had been a key advocate in furthering the cause of cancer control in Australia.

Professor Ian Frazer has been elected Vice President of The Cancer Council Australia. Mrs Roberts and Professor Frazer will serve terms of three years.

Cancer Council forum on cancer control in Indigenous communities

The Cancer Council Australia will hold a discussion forum in Darwin in August aimed at reducing the impact of cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities Australia-wide.

The forum, from 25 to 26 August, will feature presentations from health professionals involved in cancer control in Indigenous communities and from Indigenous cancer survivors, as well as open discussions to gain insight into cancer from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective.

A key driver of the forum, The Cancer Council Australia’s past President Professor Ray Lowenthal, said the incidence of certain cancers and overall cancer survival rates among Indigenous Australians compared unfavourably with those of non-Indigenous Australians and that the forum would focus on ways to take the agenda forward.

“The forum will aim to raise the profile of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer issues and look at building alliances with other non-government agencies to ensure cancer control in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is on the political and public health agenda,” Professor Lowenthal said.

The Cancer Council Australia and its state and territory member bodies initiated the forum, which has received financial assistance from the Federal and Northern Territory Governments and the Cancer Council NT, along with organisational support from the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO).

For more information, contact Ellen Kerrins at The Cancer Council South Australia on (08) 8291 4111 or email or download the forum registration and draft program at

New Cancer Council position statements

Position statements on Early detection of breast cancer, Passive smoking and Stopping smoking have been released by The Cancer Council Australia.

Position statements are written by The Cancer Council’s expert committees and are based on the evidence available. All statements are reviewed regularly, in accordance with The Cancer Council Australia’s position statements policy.

COSA meeting takes integrated approach

The Clinical Oncological Society of Australia will hold its Annual Scientific Meeting at the National Convention Centre in Canberra from 24-26 November.

With the theme of Cancer Care: An Integrated Approach, the meeting will include a mix of multidisciplinary plenary sessions and symposia, workshops, breakfast meetings and a hypothetical. National and international speakers will talk on a wide range of specialities and disciplines.

The meeting will be held jointly with the Australasian Association of Cancer Registries, Surgical Oncology Group of the RACS, ANZ Gynaecological Oncology Group, the Australian Lung Foundation Lung Cancer Consultative Group and the Australasian Lung Trials Group.

For the full program and online registration go to, call the ASM secretariat on 02 9280 0577 or email

Excellence award to cancer researcher

Associate Professor Robyn Ward* has won the 2004 Commonwealth Health Minister’s Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research.

Professor Ward, of the University of NSW Clinical School at St Vincent’s Hospital, won the honour for her achievements in colorectal cancer research.

Presenting the award, which included a prize of $50,000, Federal Minister for Health and Ageing, Tony Abbott, described Professor Ward as an outstanding candidate who had been active in biomedical research in Australia since 1991. “The award acknowledges her significant record of achievement in translational and clinical cancer research,” he said.

The first woman to win the award, Professor Ward’s key research achievements include: development of human antibodies to treat cancer to the stage of clinical testing; identification of the important role for precursor lesions (hyperplastic polyps) in the development of subtypes of colorectal cancer; and the description of the first example of germline epimutations causing human disease (in particular a hereditary form of colorectal cancer).

*Professor Ward is a member of the Editorial Board of Cancer Forum

Integrative oncology conference

The Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO) will hold its first international conference in New York in November.

Oncologists and health professionals will share their knowledge of complementary therapies in cancer, botanicals and evidence-based research.

The three-day conference, from November 17-19, will cover state-of-the-art integrative therapies, including their scientific validity, clinical benefits, toxicities and limitations.

Cell lung cancer keynote for online oncologists forum

A presentation from a leading international oncologist in the field of non-small cell lung cancer will head the second online 20:20 Oncologist Forum, to be held on Thursday, 2 September.

Oncologists throughout Australia and New Zealand will be able to interact and discuss the presentation with the speaker and the panel online and in real time.

The 20:20 Oncologist Forum is supported by an educational grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb Oncology.

Government, Opposition urged to adopt Cancer Council’s eight-point federal plan

In the lead-up to the federal election, The Cancer Council Australia is seeking commitment from all major federal political parties to adopt a list of national cancer control priorities as formal health policy over the term of the next Parliament.

Cancer priorities: issues for the federal election, was developed by The Cancer Council Australia, its member organisations and committees, as the most practicable cancer control measures to pursue in a federal policy context.

The priorities include: a comprehensive tobacco control program; a national cancer care agency; improved services for rural, regional and Indigenous communities; increased support for cancer research; funding for clinical trials capacity building; a national SunSmart program; a national physical activity and nutrition program; and a comprehensive bowel cancer campaign.

Cancer priorities: issues for the federal election is available on The Cancer Council Australia’s website at

Daffodil Day looking for believers

The Cancer Council Australia is gearing up for another successful Daffodil Day on Friday 20 August, with hopes of raising $9.5 million.

Two million fresh daffodils and a range of merchandise will line stalls at train stations and shopping centres to raise funds for cancer research, control programs, advocacy, education and support services.

Inspiring belief that cancer can be beaten is the motivation behind this year’s Daffodil Day creative campaign. The television, radio and print campaign taps into the optimism that Australians maintain as they continue to strive for a cancer-free future.

Cancer Council Vice President elected to Australian Academy of Science

The recently elected Vice President of The Cancer Council Australia, Professor Ian Frazer, has added the prestigious fellowship of the Australian Academy of Science to his impressive curriculum vitae.

Cancer Council President, Mrs Judith Roberts AO, said Professor Frazer’s election to the Australian Academy of Science was fitting recognition for one of Australia’s outstanding scientists.

“Ian is renowned worldwide for developing the first papillomavirus prophylactic vaccine and is widely respected as a leading immunologist, health administrator and teacher,” Mrs Roberts said. “Only 16 scientists each year are elected as fellows of the academy, after being judged by their peers to have made an exceptional contribution to knowledge in their field.”

Mrs Roberts said the fact that Professor Frazer gave his time voluntarily to his role at The Cancer Council Australia showed he had “the personal commitment and passion to match his professional and scientific credentials”.

Cancer Council advocates national approach to cancer prevention

A concerted and comprehensive national approach to cancer prevention is the theme of The Cancer Council Australia’s National Cancer Prevention Policy (2004-2006), launched this month.

The National Cancer Prevention Policy sets out measures to help reduce the impact of preventable risk factors, such as smoking, ultraviolet radiation, inadequate diet and physical inactivity. It also examines the benefits of screening for early detection of breast, cervical, bowel and prostate cancers and melanoma.

The Cancer Council Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, Professor Alan Coates, said Australia was a world leader in the prevention of many cancers and much of that success was derived from the collaborative work of cancer councils and federal, state and territory governments.

“However, we could do much better,” Professor Coates said. “Many of the 85,000 new cases of cancer diagnosed in Australia each year could be prevented through risk minimisation or treated more effectively through early detection.”

The National Cancer Prevention Policy, which establishes a framework for governments to invest in improved cancer prevention, is the result of detailed work by the public health workers and clinicians who comprise The Cancer Council Australia’s Public Health Committee and its sub-committees.

Professor Coates paid tribute to the authors of the policy, in particular Dorothy Reading (Chair of the Public Health Committee) who coordinated its development and production.

The National Cancer Prevention Policy (2004-06) is available online at

Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea raises over $6 million

Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea has again proven a huge success, raising in excess of $6 million dollars.

There were many special morning tea moments, from small office morning teas to the entire population of Queensland’s Magnetic Island gathering for a spectacular morning tea extravaganza.

Politicians also lent their support, with the Prime Minister, John Howard, and Minister for Health and Ageing, Tony Abbott, attending morning teas, along with a Federal Government contribution of $100,000.

Money raised will fund vital research, education programs and support services for people affected by cancer.

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