SYDNEY, WEDNESDAY 24 JANUARY 2018: Less than six months after Health Minister Greg Hunt first announced $13 million from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to rare cancer and diseases research, comes the news that this will be stepped up to just under $70 million.
Last August, Rare Cancers Australia (RCA) launched its Rare Solutions: A Time to Act report which tabled workable solutions and urged government and industry to adopt to improve the outlook for this vulnerable group of Australians.
Prior to this announcement, rare and less common cancers received 12 per cent of the cancer research dollar, despite accounting for over 50 per cent of cancer deaths.
Rare Cancers Australia chief executive Richard Vines said,“This announcement heralds a new era for rare cancer patients. The additional research funding announced today will not only provide tangible improvement and better outcomes, but a beacon of hope for this often neglected group of Australians.
“We’ve come an awful long way in five years from rare cancers being completely ignored to receiving substantial funding. This is something that everyone including government can be very proud of.
“I congratulate the Minister on this funding commitment. It is brilliant news. This funding will go a long way to achieving greater access to treatment and ultimately improve the outcomes for patients. Our aim is to eliminate the inequity that exisits for RLC cancers and to turn a rare cancer diagnosis into a treatable disease rather than a death sentence.We have a long way to go.
“Every year there are over 52,000 diagnoses of RLC cancers, and 25,000 deaths in Australia. Today’s announcement represents not just hope, but a tangible lifeline for the thousands of Australians who have too often fallen through the cracks.
“While this news is a good shot in the arm, more can be done to support Australians living with RLC cancers. The average survival rate for those living with rare cancers remains extremely low compared to the average survival rates for Australians with more common cancers, but this is progress and we are thrilled,” said Richard Vines, chief executive, Rare Cancers Australia.
RCA looks forward to working with government to continue moving forward with the solutions it recommended in the report.
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