New hope for Australians affected by pancreatic cancer

Cancer Australia

The Hon Greg Hunt MP

Minister for Health and Aged Care

The Morrison Government is today launching a new coordinated approach to tackling pancreatic cancer and has committed $20.3 million to improve outcomes and survival for Australians affected by the disease.

“Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in Australia, and over the last 40 years the number of Australians diagnosed with pancreatic cancer has more than tripled,” Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, said.

“Pancreatic cancer has significantly poorer outcomes than many other cancers and has a devastating impact on the lives of all those affected.

“This is why I invited Cancer Australia to develop the National Pancreatic Cancer Roadmap. The $20 million investment towards a national and coordinated approach will accelerate improvements in outcomes and survival for Australians affected by pancreatic cancer.”

To revolutionise the early detection, management and care of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, $3.3 million will address five priorities outlined in the roadmap, including culturally appropriate models of care.

The Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) will also fund research aligning with two roadmap priorities:

  • $6 million to progress therapeutic approaches for improving the management of pain and symptoms in individuals with pancreatic cancer through the MRFF Emerging Priorities and Consumer Driven Research Initiative.
  • $6 million for involvement in international collaborative clinical trials through the MRFF Clinical Trials Activity Initiative.

In addition, The Morrison Government will provide $5 million to support the Pancreatic Centre – located at Epworth HealthCare in Victoria – to seek ways to detect pancreatic cancer early and improve treatment options for people affected by the disease.

The release of the roadmap comes as Professor Dorothy Keefe PSM is re-appointed as Cancer Australia Chief Executive Officer for a further three years.

“I am delighted to announce Professor Keefe will continue in this important role,” Minister Hunt said. “She is a qualified and experienced clinician with a long-term interest in cancer research.

“Professor Keefe will play a key role in delivering the first Australian Cancer Plan, which reflects the Government’s commitment to set out national priorities and actions over the next 10 years to improve outcomes for people affected by cancer.”

Professor Keefe said she was delighted to have been reappointed and proud of the staff and agency’s accomplishments over the past three years.

“Cancer Australia has completed an enquiry into lung cancer screening, developed the national pancreatic cancer roadmap being announced today, delivered extensive resources responding to the COVID‑19 pandemic, and a website for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people affected by cancer,” Professor Keefe said.

The National Pancreatic Cancer Roadmap identifies key priority areas and strategies for collective action over the next five years to 2027. These priority areas have been developed with stakeholders and cover all aspects of the pancreatic cancer pathway, including prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment, supportive and palliative care, and pancreatic cancer research.

“The Roadmap is for the Australian community,” Professor Keefe said. “Its implementation will be a collective responsibility involving people affected by pancreatic cancer, health professionals, professional colleges, researchers, pancreatic cancer organisations, peak bodies, non-government and government organisations.”

The Roadmap is an interactive, easy to use website, where users can easily identify information in their areas of interest across pancreatic research, treatment and care.

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