Sydney, 4 February 2018: All Aussies deserve an equal chance, especially when it comes to treating a deadly disease such as cancer. Yet, Australians living with a rare or less common cancer (RLC) are being denied equal treatment opportunities and Rare Cancers Australia (RCA) is shedding light on this inequality with a new video campaign titled Cancer Is Cancer, launching on World Cancer Day.
Together with global advertising group J. Walter Thompson, RCA has created a video highlighting the disparity between treatments available for people with RLC cancers and those with common cancers.
The video, filmed at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse cancer hospital, features a series of RLC patients at various stages of their cancer treatment and journey to raise awareness and educate Australians on the ongoing hurdles patients living with a rare cancer face. The new footage provides insight into the lives of five Australians whose lives have been affected by RLC cancers, including a six-year-old diagnosed with Retinoblastoma, Australian Paralympic gold medallist Kelly Cartwright OAM who was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma as a teenager, a 43-year-old mum living with rare cancer NSCLC Ros 1, a 17-year-old diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, and a gentleman in his 80s living with merkel cell carcinoma.
Cancer does not discriminate against race, age or religion, and RCA insists that rare cancer patients should be afforded the same level of access to affordable treatment options as common cancer patients.
Kelly Cartwright, RCA ambassador and above-the-knee amputee, lost her leg as a result of synovial sarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer, aged 15 years. Following successful surgery, and immense rehabilitation, Kelly’s life transformed, and she is now a Paralympic gold medalist in athletics, mother to young son Max, motivational speaker and media personality having appeared on Dancing with the Stars.
“I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones. But Australians living with rare and less common cancers are an ignored group in our country - this needs to change. We need to give every cancer patient the best opportunity to survive their disease with the most effective treatments and the right to access any cancer drug to help them sustain their lives well into remission. Without Rare Cancers Australia’s support and fundraising initiatives people will continue to lose their lives. I encourage everyone to watch this video and learn how they can join in RCA’s fight for equality,” said Ms. Cartwright.
Rare and less common cancers make up 30 per cent of all cancer diagnosis, yet they account for 50 per cent of all deaths. Each year 52,000 Aussies are diagnosed with a RLC cancer and sadly 25,000 Australians die within five years, and according to RCA Co-Founder and Chief Executive, Richard Vines this is 25,000 too many.
“It really should not matter what cancer you get. Cancer is cancer.
“RLC cancers destroy lives, and where treatment is available for such cancers it is often unaffordable. There is very little financial support available for sufferers of RLC cancers, and some are forced to sell everything they own to access treatment, use life savings and superannuation and crowdfund to survive.
“While we’ve seen an increasing awareness of RLC cancers and government implementations to improve the lives of those living with RLC cancers, the fact remains that the 52,000 Australians diagnosed with a rare or less common form of cancer every year do not have the same access to treatment compared to those with common cancers. Our aim is that this video will make people aware of the problem, inspire action and work with us so that all cancer patients get the support they are entitled to. We hope the video will drive home the importance of an urgent review into the unequal opportunities people with RLC cancers are given,” said Mr. Vines.
To view the video, or to donate, please click here
For all media enquiries, please contact Kath Kissell on 0408 408 562