Queensland focuses in on forgotten cancers

Cancer Council will today launch the Forgotten Cancers Project in Queensland, giving hope to men and women diagnosed with the State’s less common cancers.

Launched by Cancer Council Victoria in 2011, the Forgotten Cancers Project aims to understand the causes of less common and/or under-researched cancers for better outcomes.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said 32 per cent of all cancer deaths in Queensland were attributed to less common cancers.

“Less common cancers cause a large number of annual deaths, despite accounting for only 25 per cent of diagnoses in Queensland each year,” Ms Clift said.

“The five most common cancers – breast, bowel, prostate, melanoma and lung – account for 61 per cent of cancer diagnoses in Queensland annually.

“We have considerably improved our understanding of common cancers over the past few years, but the resources available to invest into less common cancers have been more scarce.

“Because a smaller portion of the population are diagnosed with these cancers, large-scale studies to make powerful analyses have been difficult.

“But it’s imperative that we fund research into these forgotten cancers – to discover how to prevent them and detect them earlier, and to reduce mortality rates.

“We’re proud to be shining a light on these less common cancers, giving Queenslanders the opportunity to share their experience and participate in groundbreaking research for the future.”

The Forgotten Cancers Project invites Queenslanders diagnosed with one or more of 15 targeted cancers to complete an online survey, and to give DNA from either saliva or blood samples.

The 15 forgotten cancers are non-Hodgkin lymphoma, leukaemia, multiple myeloma, kidney, bladder, stomach, brain, liver, oesophagus, pancreas, uterus, thyroid, gallbladder, small intestine and bone cancer.
“Nationally, the project needs 1000 people with each type of cancer, and a matching number of relatives, to gather sufficient data,” Ms Clift said.

“Because these cancers are less common, we need as many people as possible to support this research project and come forward to share information about their diagnoses.

“The 15 targeted cancers have been selected deliberately – some have poor survival rates, and some cancers were selected that may have genetic causes, which would be identified through DNA analysis.”

Australians over 18 years of age who have been diagnosed with one or more of the 15 targeted cancers are invited to participate in the Forgotten Cancers study.

If eligible, a nominated family member not affected by the same cancer may also be invited to take part.

More information about The Forgotten Cancers Project is available atforgottencancers.com.au.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via 13 11 20 or cancerqld.org.au.

For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland
Ph: (07) 3634 5372 or 0409 001 171