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News & Events November 2, 2023

Statement from Professor Peter Leedman AO, Director, Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, on the release of the Australian Cancer Plan:

The Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research (the Perkins) welcomes the release of the Australian Cancer Plan. It is a great step forward for a consistent, national approach to cancer care for all Australians.

The Perkins was involved in the consultation process as part of our plans to develop a Comprehensive Cancer Centre for Western Australia. We’re excited to see that a national network of comprehensive cancer centres forms the foundation of the Plan to deliver consistent, better cancer care for all Australians. The business case for the Comprehensive Cancer Centre for WA is being developed.

For 25 years, researchers at the Perkins in WA have been working tirelessly to find kinder treatments that deliver better health outcomes for many of the hardest to treat cancers.

In that time, survival rates for most cancers have improved – we’re at a stage now where many cancers, like breast cancer, are predominantly non-lethal. However, some cancers, like liver cancer, are on the rise and will have a massive impact over the next 5-10 years.

As Australia’s largest state, WA has unique logistical challenges in delivering best practise cancer care to remote and regional communities, including Aboriginal communities. It is encouraging that the Australian Cancer Plan has recognised the needs of these groups, and others, and includes objectives to address these challenges in the short, medium and long term.

As WA’s largest medical research institute investigating adult cancers, we are encouraged by the Plan’s inclusion of the need for focussed investment in medical research. Much of the research funded in WA is thanks in large part to community support and generous donations – a stronger focus on targeted investment in research will give long-term projects the safety net they need to reach effective outcomes and make meaningful inroads into cancer treatment.

Cancer affects too many people in our community – with over 1m Australians living with cancer right now, a national approach to better health care throughout the cancer journey is paramount. And equal access to the best health care for everyone, no matter who you are or where you live, is essential. And the Plan’s recognition of the need for targeted investment in medical research means we’ll be able to stay ahead of the curve to find better ways to prevent and treat disease.

We look forward to continuing our collaborations with Federal and State government, our research partners, health practitioners and service providers and the broader community. The Perkins will continue to add value to the progress of the Australian Cancer Plan for the benefit of all West Australians living with cancer.