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Setting the standard to save 1375 lives

Tuesday October 26, 2021

  • Every year 1375 Australians will unnecessarily die from blood cancer
  • New campaign aims for all blood cancer patients to get access to the best treatments
  • Support Set the Standard, add your name to the online tally:

The Leukaemia Foundation has officially launched its biggest and most important campaign in its history, urging all Australians to pledge their support to save 1375 lives from blood cancer[1].

Leukaemia Foundation CEO, Chris Tanti said the organisation was on a mission for all Australians to have access to the best blood cancer diagnosis, treatment and care, no matter their postcode.

“By the end of today another 50 Australians[2] will be told they have blood cancer and sadly, almost four will needlessly die because of the inconsistencies in care based on where a patient lives,” Mr Tanti said.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change this and save 1375 Australians from dying every year by setting national standards, ensuring all patients get the same access to the best treatment.

“We are fortunate to have one of the best healthcare systems in the world, but that doesn’t mean much to a patient and their loved ones when there are inconsistencies in access to treatment across various parts of Australia.

“It’s time to bridge this divide.”

The new Set the Standard campaign is the first priority phase of the National Strategic Action Plan developed by Australia’s leading haematologists, researchers, patients, and cancer care experts, designed to save thousands of lives from blood cancer by 2035.

Across Australia there is a big difference in how patients are treated for blood cancers:

  • On average, there is a 13 per cent disparity in survival outcomes for blood cancer based on where a person lives[3].
  • A recent Australian study found that when clinical best practice is applied, the risk of death from some blood cancers decreases by 40 per cent[4].
  • This study also found that people who received their treatment outside metropolitan areas are 37 per cent less likely to receive treatment that complies with current guidelines[5].

“Set the Standard provides decision makers with a plan – all they need to do is say yes, so we can have 1375 Australians still here with us next year and give hope to thousands of blood cancer patients fighting this devastating disease,” Mr Tanti said.

“We have made huge strides in treating blood cancer, we can’t afford to stop now. The community can help us get there by adding their name to our national map and Set the Standard of having the best treatment available to everyone.”

To put your name and heart on the Set the Standard campaign, visit


Blood cancer in Australia facts and figures[6]:

  • It is expected that 18,485 Australians will be newly diagnosed with blood cancer such as leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma in 2021. This is equivalent to over 50 people per day or one person every 28 minutes.
  • Incidence of blood cancer continues to grow. Incidence of blood cancer has increased by 40% in the past 10 years, or 50% since 2009.
  • When combined, blood cancers are the second most diagnosed cancers in Australia, and the second most common cause of cancer-related deathsin the country.
  • More than 110,000 people are currently living with a blood cancer or blood disorder in Australia today. By 2035, more than 275,000 Australians are expected to be living with a blood cancer or blood disorder[7].
  • Over 5,700 people in Australia are expected to lose their life to blood cancer or related blood disorders this year. This is equivalent to 15 people per day.
  • Blood cancer continues to remain the most commonly diagnosed childhood cancer (0-14 years) accounting for over 45% of all diagnoses.





[5] Ibid



Blood cancer signs and symptoms: Symptoms of all blood cancers can sometimes be subtle or even similar to other conditions, such as a flu. However, ongoing symptoms like recurrent infections, increased fatigue, night sweats, bone pain, bruising or enlarged lymph nodes should be immediately discussed with your GP or specialist. Early diagnosis can play a key role in surviving blood cancer, so it is crucially important that you are examined and treated properly. If you or someone you love is diagnosed with a blood cancer, reach out to the Leukaemia Foundation on 1800 620 420. Accessing our support is free of charge.