Greater access to game-changing technology for Victorian cancer patients, and a major boost to research in the fight against brain cancer. That’s the good news for Victorians affected by this awful disease after the Victorian Government announced an $18 million funding boost for the Olivia Newton-John (ONJ) Cancer Wellness and Research Centre.
As part of the package, $8 million will go towards a new MRI-linear accelerator service. The new MRI-linear accelerator machine uses diagnostic quality MRI imaging to target tumours with greater precision, and in real time. That gives doctors the ability to better target cancers and restrict damage to surrounding tissue.
The new service will be a life saver, and make a real difference for hard-to-treat cancers with poor survival rates such as brain, head and neck, pancreatic and liver cancers. Patients also benefit from fewer side-effects due to much better targeted treatment.
A further $10 million will go towards establishing a Centre of Research Excellence within the ONJ Cancer Research Institute. The new Centre will have a strong focus on brain cancer, while also assisting with infrastructure and support for the Institute’s ground-breaking work fighting cancer.
The five-year survival rate for Victorians diagnosed with cancer has increased from 48 per cent in 1986 to 68 per cent in 2016, a testament to the rewards of investment in cancer prevention, treatment and research. Yet, with over 11,000 Victorians dying from the disease in 2016, clearly there’s much more to be done.
To this end, the State Government has established the Victorian Cancer Action Plan 2016-20, setting the ambitious target of saving 10,000 lives from cancer within the next 10 years.