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Leukaemia Foundation throws its support behind the Australian Cancer Plan on behalf of Australians living with blood cancer

Thursday November 2, 2023

The Leukaemia Foundation welcomes the release of the Australian Cancer Plan today, which marks a significant milestone in the fight against cancer in Australia.

As a fierce advocate for Australians living with blood cancer, a provider of support services for close to 50 years, and Australia’s most trusted cancer charityi, the Leukaemia Foundation strongly supports the objectives of the Australian Cancer Plan.

Leukaemia Foundation CEO, Chris Tanti, said the Leukaemia Foundation believes that the plan’s focus on early detection and equitable access to world-class cancer care is crucial to reducing the burden of cancer on the Australian community.

“Blood cancer is a significant issue in Australia with incidence soaring 47% in the past ten years alone. Every day 53 Australians will be told they have blood cancer and 16 people will lost their life to the disease making it one of the nation’s deadliest cancers,”ii said Mr Tanti.

“We were proud to be a voice for these Australians and to have provided input into the development of the Australian Cancer Plan, contributing to the process at Parliament House and through various consultations and events along the way.

“Throughout the process we ensured that blood cancer patients needs rang loud and clear, and we will continue to work on behalf of them to ensure their unique challenges are appropriately addressed as the Australian Cancer Plan is implemented.”

Blood cancers including leukaemia, lymphoma, and myeloma account for the second highest cause of cancer related deaths in the country, with 1 in 3 Australians diagnosed not surviving 5 years after their diagnosis.iii

Further contributing to the significant impact of blood cancer in Australia is the fact that blood cancer cannot be screened for, nor prevented through lifestyle change, and it’s also one of the costliest cancers to treat making it a significant public health concern.

Mr Tanti added, “while screening is an important addition in the plan, we will continue to work with the government to ensure activities to help address non-screenable cancers – such as blood cancers – are reflected in the implementation of the Plan.”

The Leukaemia Foundation’s own State of the Nation 2023 report included input from over 4,600 Australians living with blood cancer and showed the scale of the challenges faced by patients, including inequitable access to care depending on where you live, high out-of-pocket costs, mental health challenges and barriers to accessing the best possible treatments.iv

“Every Australian diagnosed with blood cancer deserves to have the best, most effective treatment, regardless of where they live, to give them the best chance of surviving their diagnosis.

“With the support of the Australian Government and the wider blood cancer community including Australia’s Blood Cancer Taskforce, important progress has been made, however if we are to save more lives from blood cancer, significantly more needs to be done.”

The Leukaemia Foundation, with Australia’s Blood Cancer Taskforce, has been leading the development of Optimal Care Pathways for blood cancer, which have been already developed for most other cancers and major diseases.

“Our goal through the development of the Optimal Care Pathways is to see that all Australians living with blood cancer have access to the best possible care, treatment, and support services.

“With the addition of the Australian Cancer Plan, we believe that there is now a clearer roadmap to achieve this goal and we remain committed to working with the government to ensure the implementation of the Plan meets the needs of blood cancer patients.”

The Leukaemia Foundation is standing ready to do our part to make the Australian Cancer Plan a reality and support the implementation of the Plan whilst continuing to collaborate with the government to improve the lives of people affected by blood cancer.

For more information on the Leukaemia Foundation’s response to the draft Australian Cancer Plan, and other policy submissions, please see our web page here:

[iv] State of the National in Blood Cancers in 2023