Charities hope for increased cancer funds

Funding for cancer research is lopsided in Australia, where the most deadly diseases do not get the most money.

Cancer groups say they welcome support for breast cancer but would like to see this level of support for research into all cancers.

The NSW government donation of $2.5 million on Thursday to breast cancer support organisation the McGrath Foundation again revealed the imbalance in funding levels between the various forms of the disease.

Cancer Council director of public policy Paul Grogan said he hoped funding would be increased for all cancers.

"We welcome community support for breast cancer research and awareness, and would like to see this level of support emulated across the cancer spectrum," he said.

Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia chief executive Anthony Lowe said there were big discrepancies in funding for different cancers.

"We're keen to achieve funding support for our particular interest but we're also keen that there's increased funding across the board," he said.

"It tends to be the case that the more high-profile cancers receive more funding than some of the less well-known cancers, for example, cancer of unknown primary."

A Cancer Australia report released late last year showed research money spent on the high-profile cancers, such as breast and prostate cancer, is much greater than that allocated to lesser-known cancers.

More than $1 billion was provided to Australian cancer researchers for all cancers between 2006 and 2011.

About two-thirds of this was from the Australian government.

Breast cancer causes 3000 deaths in Australia a year, is the fourth-largest cause of death in Australian women and the second most fatal cancer in women after lung cancer.

And it draws the most money.

Thanks to a boost from money raised from charities, breast cancer received $143 million in tumour specific-funding between 2006 and 2011.

Prostate cancer drew $67 million.

Lung cancer received just $24 million, despite the disease being Australia's number one cancer killer. More than 11,000 Australians are diagnosed with lung cancer each year and this figure is expected to increase by 21 per cent by 2020.

Associate Professor Lowe said that as Australia aged, the burden of cancer in society would increase, so it was imperative that funding for all cancers was increased.

"It is very important to put funding into medical research to understand the causes of cancer, for diagnostic tests for preventative strategies and particularly for support services to help people who have survived cancer."

Source AAP

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