Head of the Cancer Program:
Professor Steven Lane

Cancer is a leading cause of death in Australia. Sadly, nearly 50 000 Australians will die from cancer each year.

In 2019, it is estimated that almost 145 000 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in Australia (excluding basal and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin). Cancer accounted for about three in 10 deaths in Australia, making it the second most common cause of death, exceeded only by cardiovascular disease.

Although overall cancer survival rates have improved in the past 20 years, several types of cancer have poor five year survival rates. These include ovarian, brain, esophageal, lung, pancreas and colorectal cancer.

Cancer is a disease caused by abnormal cell growth and eventually spreads to other parts of the body. Some cancers are common within a family history and are clearly inherited, while others are caused by factors in the environment interacting with genetic susceptibilities. Many forms of cancer can be treated successfully, if detected early.

QIMR Berghofer cancer researchers aim to develop new strategies that will prevent, detect and treat cancer by:

  • Prevention: identifying specific modifiable environmental and genetic factors that reduce a person’s risk of developing cancer
  • Detection: developing better screening tests, so cancer can be detected earlier
  • Treat: identifying better treatments for cancer and conduct clinical trials to test for effectiveness

Dr Nic Waddell, Cancer Program Coordinator