Fighting Cancer – Australia’s Biggest Killer

All Australians turning 50 between 2008 and 2010 will be offered a free bowel cancer screening test, as part of a range of measures to tackle cancer – Australia’s biggest killer.

Page last updated: 13 May 2008

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13 May 2008

All Australians turning 50 between 2008 and 2010 will be offered a free bowel cancer screening test, as part of a range of measures to tackle cancer announced in the 2008-09 Budget.

Cancer is Australia’s biggest killer, with more than 35,000 deaths and 88,000 people diagnosed every year.

The fight against cancer is a national challenge and the Rudd Labor Government is committed to supporting researchers, clinicians, practitioners and other health professionals involved in cancer research and treatment.

About 80 Australians die each week from bowel cancer and one in 22 Australians are likely to develop the disease at some point in their lives. As well as testing for people turning 50 in 2008-10, testing will continue for people turning 55 or 65 years of age in this period. The national program will cost $87.4 million over three years.

Cancer in young people is also a concern. After transport accidents and suicide, cancer is the leading cause of death of teenagers and young adults in Australia. About 800 Australians aged 15-24 are diagnosed with cancer each year.

The Government is providing $15.0 million over three years to CanTeen to establish Youth Cancer Networks in Australia to improve coordination of services, support and care for teenagers and young adults with cancer, and their families. The networks will include six new adolescent and young adult cancer centres in mainland states.

The Government will invest $15.0 million over three years for independent clinical trials of drugs and research into cancer treatment and care. Funding has also been allocated for a range of cancer research and treatment centres around the country, including:

  • $50.0 million over three years for the Comprehensive Cancer Centre, co-located with the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney;
  • $15.0 million over five years to set up two dedicated prostate cancer research centres;
  • $15.0 million over two years in capital funding to help build a Children’s Cancer Centre at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide;
  • $15.0 million over two years towards the establishment of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Centre at the Austin Hospital, Melbourne; and
  • $5.1 million over three years for the ongoing operation of the National Centre for Gynaecological Cancers, under the auspices of Cancer Australia.
The McGrath Foundation will receive $12.0 million over four years to recruit, train and employ 30 new breast cancer nurses in rural and remote areas or areas where there is currently no breast cancer nurse. They will provide information, supportive care and care coordination to women with breast cancer and their families.

Women who have undergone mastectomy as a result of breast cancer will be reimbursed up to $400 for both new and replacement external breast prostheses. The Government has committed $31.0 million over four years to provide the reimbursement.

As well as the initiatives above, the Government is providing:
  • a $15.0 million funding boost to the National Tobacco Strategy;
  • $14.5 million in the Indigenous Tobacco Control Initiative; and
  • $19.0 million in a national HPV register.
We are also investing in a number of local measures, including:
  • radiation oncology services in Cairns and North/North-West Tasmania;
  • PET facilities for Royal Hobart Hospital and Calvary Mater Hospital in Newcastle; and
  • fast-tracking radiotherapy services at Lismore Base Hospital.

Media inquiries only: Sean Kelly – 0417 108 362
For all other inquiries please contact the Minister's office – 02 6277 7220