May 8, 2018

VICTORIAN FIRST FOR OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN CENTRE TO FIGHT CANCER

More Victorian cancer patients will be able to access the world’s best ‘game-changing’ technology at the Olivia Newton-John (ONJ) Cancer Wellness and Research Centre to target and treat the deadly disease, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Health Jill Hennessy today joined Australian icon Olivia Newton-John to announce an $18 million funding boost to fast-track more research and better treatments.

As part of the package, $8 million will go towards a new MRI-linear accelerator service – the first of its kind in Victoria and just the second in the Southern Hemisphere.

Current radiation treatments rely on CT imaging to locate tumours. The new MRI-linac machine instead uses superior diagnostic quality MRI imaging to target the tumour with greater precision, and in real time.

With more detailed imaging, doctors can better target cancers and minimise damage to surrounding tissue.

It will be a life saver and make a real difference for hard-to-treat cancers with poor survival rates such as brain, head and neck, pancreatic and liver cancers. Patients also benefit from fewer side-effects.

The Labor Government will also provide $10 million for the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute to establish a Centre of Research Excellence with a focus on brain cancer. This funding will also assist with the infrastructure and support researchers need to continue their ground-breaking work fighting cancer.

This funding boost builds on the incredible work of the ONJ Centre to deliver the very best treatments, wellness programs and complimentary therapies and world leading cancer research all under one roof.

The five-year survival rate for Victorians diagnosed with cancer has increased from 48 per cent in 1986 to 68 per cent in 2016 – a testament to the ongoing investment in cancer prevention, treatment and research.

Yet in 2016, 33,037 Victorians were diagnosed with cancer and 11,111 died from the disease – this equates to the premature loss of nearly 63,000 years of life. This is too many, and proof that we still need to do more.

That’s why our Victorian Cancer Action Plan 2016-20 has set an ambitious target of saving 10,000 lives from cancer in the next 10 years.

Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

“Like most Victorians, I’ve lost someone I love to cancer. Our investment in the ONJ Centre will help patients get better, more targeted treatment and bring us one step closer to finding a cure.”

“Whether it’s Victorian first technology to better treat and target this awful disease, or a new research centre to deliver new breakthroughs, we’re making the investments needed to change and save lives.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“World-renowned researchers at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre are leading the way in the fight against cancer. We’re giving them the support they need to continue their work revolutionising patient care and to one day find a cure.”