The Pancare Foundation story
Pancreatic, liver and biliary surgeon, Dr Mehrdad Nikfarjam, founded Pancare Foundation in 2011, with the support of family, friends, colleagues, and several of his patients. His wish was to establish a leading voice to raise awareness of pancreatic and upper gastrointestinal (GI) cancers, support patients and fund research into early detection and new treatments to improve survival rates.
Demanding better for Australia’s forgotten cancers
Out of all the major cancers, upper gastrointestinal cancers have some of the lowest survival rates and collectively represent a leading cause of cancer death in society.
In fact, over the past 10 years alone, more than 100,000 Australians have been diagnosed, with more than 75,000 losing their life as a result – thousands more than the mortality of breast and prostate cancer combined.
Yet, they receive very little attention or attract funding to support vital research or enhance patient outcomes.
The support networks and services that exist for more common cancers, are lacking for upper GI cancers. As a result receiving a timely diagnosis, access to information, ease of treatment pathways and overall survival are compromised. With few survivors there are limited opportunities to develop patient advocates and cause ambassadors to push for better outcomes.
We’re on a mission to change that.
Since our inception, we’re proud to have championed the advancement of upper GI cancers, thanks to the support of our generous community.
Support at the heart of everything we do
Since our humble beginnings in Melbourne, Pancare has continued to evolve to meet the needs of patients and their families. From educational resources through to support groups, telehealth support through to financial assistance, we have one goal in mind: that no one should have to face their journey alone.
Our rich legacy of services and programs has supported countless Australian families through the continuum of their cancer journey. We’ve been the reassuring voice on the end of the phone in the aftermath of a devastating diagnosis. We’ve helped navigate the highs and lows of treatment. We’ve been the source of support and understanding during end of life care and bereavement.
Our work is deeply personal, life-changing and we see it as a privilege to be trusted to share this journey with our patients and their families.
About our founder
Associate Professor Mehrdad Nikfarjam MD, PhD, FRACS
Dr Mehrdad Nikfarjam is a pancreatic, liver and biliary surgeon practicing out of the Austin Hospital and Warringal Private in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He is also an Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne, Department of Surgery.
Mehrdad is driven by a deep commitment to seeing improved outcomes for patients impacted by upper GI cancers and is actively involved in the medical community as a researcher on pancreas and liver cancer. He is a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Surgeons and has been appointed to the Pancreatic Cancer Steering Group for the development of the National Pancreatic Cancer Roadmap with Cancer Australia.
Phil Sly – Emeritus Patron of Courage
Phil Sly was an entrepreneur, building developer, passionate racehorse owner, philanthropist and cancer survivor for many years until passing away from secondary liver cancer after a brave and lengthy battle. His courage and never-give-up attitude was an inspiration to those around him and patients far and wide.
Phil Sly’s association with Pancare Foundation started in 2011 when treated for his liver tumours. He shared in his surgeon’s dream that all patients with pancreatic, liver, biliary, oesophageal and stomach cancer should have the right to receive the best possible treatment available regardless of their personal circumstances, with the ultimate goal of improving and saving lives.
Since that time Phil’s vision and support have been instrumental in taking the Pancare Foundation from infancy to a nationally recognised organisation. A key supporter in various capacities, including serving on the Board of Directors and helping to create a multifaceted team, Phil was an incredible advocate for Pancare Foundation.
The Pancare Foundation is grateful for Phil giving his voice to our Foundation, during his courageous battle with cancer. His generosity, passion and inspirational approach to life that he shares is a gift to us all and serves to empower others fighting the battle with cancers.
Janet McCaughey – Patron of Hope & Support
Pancare Foundation is privileged to have Janet McCaughey as our inaugural Patron of Hope and Support. Janet’s association with Pancare Foundation started in 2011, as her partner Phil Sly was being treated for cancer. Her support and passion contributed to her partner’s success in living life to the fullest, throughout his battle with cancer. Janet has shared in her partner’s vision to help Pancare increase survival and improve the lives of those affected by pancreatic, liver, stomach, biliary and oesophageal cancers. She understands the need to have a positive attitude and provide hope and support to achieve the best outcomes for patients and families impacted by these cancers. She has a desire and passion to help others where possible and holds an important role in the Foundation raising awareness and leading our women’s network fundraising endeavours.
Learn more about the research programs we support and how you can help make a difference.