1400x700 Olivia Wellness Walk StuMorley-2624
 Sep 12, 2016

The cancer challenge

Most people in Australia are or will be touched by cancer at some stage in their lives, either through personal experience or the experience of family and friends.  

More than 123,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed in Australia every year, and as our population ages, cancer is becoming more prevalent.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Australia, with an estimated 45,700 cancer patients passing away each year.

The most common types of cancers affect the lung and large bowel as well as prostate in males and breast in women.

Thanks to innovative research, new interventions and improvements to existing treatments have increased the survival rate for many types of cancer by more than 20 per cent in the past three decades. However, this success is not consistently achieved across all types of cancers.

Globally, it is estimated that more than 14 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year with more than six in ten cancer deaths worldwide occurring in developing regions.

Understanding the causes of cancer is not only essential for the development of new therapies, but also for establishing processes and policies that help to prevent, detect and treat the various types of cancer. Despite enormous advances in detecting and treating some cancers, for most cancers the cause is not fully understood and therein lays the challenge. 

At the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute our researchers are focused on identifying causes, developing new and improved therapies, and understanding mechanisms of resistance to treatment. Collectively translating these findings from the laboratory into the clinic will provide benefit to cancer patients.  At any one time, our scientists are involved in up to 70 clinical trials. Trials are in progress for a variety of cancer types including brain, bowel, breast, melanoma, gastrointestinal, head and neck, pancreatic, prostate and lung cancer.

Clinical trials are a critical part of the journey towards finding better, more effective treatments for cancer. Once a scientific discovery has been made in the laboratory and a drug of treatment has been developed, a clinical trial with volunteer patients enables scientists and clinicians to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment in a safe and controlled environment.