New Alliance Gives A United Voice To Pancreatic Cancer

New Alliance Give a United Voice

On the eve of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month and ahead of World Pancreatic Cancer Day (13 November) a unique collaboration of organisations and individuals have come together to form The Pancreatic Cancer Alliance – a collaborative voice driven to raising awareness of pancreatic cancer in Australia.

The Alliance, united by the need for greater awareness of pancreatic cancer across the Australian community, and coupled with a long-term view of supporting much needed medical research into the disease, is formally announced today by Hon. Jillian Skinner, NSW Minister for Health at NSW Parliament House at an event mceed by the Patron of the Alliance, Tracey Spicer.

Members of the Pancreatic Cancer Alliance currently include (in alphabetical order): Avner Pancreatic Cancer Foundation; Cancer Australia; Garvan Institute of Medical Research; GI Cancer Institute; Karen Livingstone; Pancare Foundation; Patron – Tracey Spicer, and #PurpleOurWorld.

CEO of the Garvan Research Foundation, and a key facilitator in the formation of the Alliance, Mr Andrew Giles says, “Breakthroughs in pancreatic cancer research are desperately needed.  With the second lowest five-year survival rate of all cancers in Australia, of 6.1% [1], it is shocking to think that this poor pancreatic cancer survival rate has barely improved for nearly forty years[2].  The Alliance has come together to make a difference in driving a greater awareness of this cancer across the Australian community.”

Alliance member and CEO of the Pancare Foundation Angelia Dixon comments, “The power of a collaborative voice cannot be underestimated.  By driving greater awareness The Alliance hopes to, in turn, drive much needed funds into research that will help to find breakthroughs in our understanding of pancreatic cancer; develop tests for early detection; find ways to prevent pancreatic cancer and ultimately, enable new therapies to evolve to treat pancreatic cancer and stop it spreading.”

Pancreatic cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer-related death in Australia[3].  It is seldom detected in its early stages and typically spreads rapidly, making it the seventh most common cause of death from cancer worldwide[4].”

Improved survival for many other cancers has been achieved through improved diagnostic methods, earlier detection and better treatment options.

Jess Abelsohn from #PurpleOurWorld adds, “#PurpleOurWorld was born out of our own personal experience with pancreatic cancer and the death of my mother Rochelle Goulburn in 2014. From the date of my mum’s diagnosis and throughout her treatment, we found that there was very little support for, and awareness of, pancreatic cancer. We decided we had to get Australia talking about pancreatic cancer and being part of the Pancreatic Cancer Alliance and a collaborative approach is critical.”

Alliance member and Executive Officer of the GI Cancer Institute, Russell Conley comments, “The GI Cancer Institute brings further expertise to the Alliance with its focus on funding gastro-intestinal (GI) cancer research, which includes cancer of the pancreas.  The Alliance not only has a collaborative voice, but also a very strong representation across key areas from clinical trial research, medical research, fundraising, patient awareness and consumer advocacy.”

Caroline Kelly, Executive Director and Co-Founder, of Avner Pancreatic Cancer Foundation adds, “The Avner Foundation has always adopted the view that pancreatic cancer is the underdog of all cancers. It is under-funded, under-researched and flies under the radar far too often. Since our inception we have seen that individuals, communities and companies, when working together, can make a real difference. Together we are confident that, like other cancers, we can make survival possible.”

Cancer Australia CEO Professor Helen Zorbas said, “Cancer Australia was established to benefit all Australians who are diagnosed with cancer, and their families and carers. We are pleased to be part of the Pancreatic Cancer Alliance and provide evidence based input into the strategic vision for improving awareness of pancreatic cancer and ultimately benefiting all those affected by the disease. Cancer Australia recognises pancreatic cancer as a research priority for the Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme.”

[1] AIWH Cancer in Australia, 2014
[2] AIHW Cancer in Australia, 2014
[3] AIHW Cancer in Australia, 2014
[4] World Cancer Report, 2014

Australia Government Avner Garvan Institute GI Cancer PurpleOurWorldPancare

Further Reading – References & Resources