Pancreatic Cancer

11 June 2020

Senator GRIFF (South Australia) (16:59): Before asking that this motion be taken as formal, I wish to inform the chamber that Senator Bilyk will also sponsor the motion. I, and also on behalf of Senator Bilyk, move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) pancreatic cancer is known as a silent killer, with symptoms often only appearing once the cancer has spread,

   (ii) pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality of all major cancers:

(A) the 5-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is just 10.7% compared with 95% for prostate cancer and 91% for breast cancer, and

(B) two thirds of pancreatic cancer patients will die within the first year of diagnosis,

   (iii) survival rates for pancreatic cancer have not changed significantly in nearly 40 years, and

   (iv) a recent report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare ('AIHW') confirms pancreatic cancer is projected to become the third most common cancer killer in Australia in 2020, and will claim more lives than breast and prostate cancer,

(b) acknowledges that, according to the Avner Pancreatic Cancer Foundation (the only Foundation in Australia exclusively dedicated to pancreatic cancer), pancreatic cancer is only the eleventh most government-funded cancer and receives less than 8% of available National Health and Medical Research Council ('NHMRC') funding; and

(c) calls on the Federal Government to:

   (i) urgently increase research and clinical funding to meet the goals of the Avner Foundation to help improve survival and quality of life for patients with pancreatic cancer, which includes:

(A) identification of biomarkers to assist with early detection,

(B) identifying why pancreatic cancer is resistant to existing cancer therapies,

(C) gaining a greater understanding of the pancreatic cancer microenvironment,

(D) identifying new therapies for pancreatic cancer, including the repurposing of existing treatments, and

(E) creating a single pathway to ensure Australians affected by pancreatic cancer can gain instant support, guidance and care, including cancer care nurses who can help patients navigate the complexities of treatment, and

   (ii) implement the recommendations made in the report of the Senate Select Committee into Funding Research into Cancers with Low Survival Rates.

Question agreed to.

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