Each year 40,000 lives are cut short and many others are profoundly disrupted by cancer. One in three Australians is likely to be diagnosed with cancer in his or her lifetime. Our discussion paper, Cancer Prevention in Australia - Strategy for 2020, reveals 45% of this $81 billion cancer burden is preventable by addressing just six factors and a further 4% could be avoided by increased screening for common cancers.
Cancer imposes a social cost we estimate at over $1,000 billion on Australia, by reducing the quality and extent of life for a significant proportion of the population. The Cancer Council NSW (TCCN) has played a leading role in cancer control for more than 50 years. The NSW Government established the Cancer Institute in 2004, and the Minister of Science and Medical Research has recently undertaken a review of how this changes the role of TCCN.
Investment in health and medical research generates significant returns both in terms of health benefits - longevity and increased quality of life for Australians; and economic benefits through increased knowledge-based jobs and economic activity.
At the end of 2003, the Federal Government established a committee to review funding for health and medical research in Australia.