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[World Cancer Day] Cancer services improvement a major priority for government.

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Media Release

Senator the Hon Kay Patterson Minister for Health and Ageing

KP03/03 February 04, 2003

Cancer services improvement a major priority for Government

On World Cancer Day, the Federal Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Kay Patterson, reaffirmed the Commonwealth Government’s long standing commitment to cancer control which has led to a reduction in the numbers of deaths from cancer by an average 1.9 per cent for the past 10 years.

"For many years cancer has been a National Health Priority and I am pleased that all Australian Health Ministers have endorsed the National Health Priority Action Council’s plans to promote and achieve excellence in cancer care across the entire health system for the benefit of people with cancer no matter where they live in Australia," Senator Patterson said.

"Last year the National Health and Medical Research Council spent over $47.6 million on cancer research and will continue high levels of funding this year.

"Our cancer survival rates are second only to the United States in international comparisons, however there is always room for improvement," Senator Patterson said.

"To this end I welcome the release today of a new report that outlines a range of measures for improving cancer services in Australia.

"The report, Optimising Cancer Care, produced by an alliance of cancer control organisations, contains a number of recommendations which relate to providing better cancer care for Australians.

"Many of the recommendations of this report, however, are already a priority for the Commonwealth and the Cancer Strategies Group, the national body that advises the National Health Priority Action Council on cancer control, has the mandate to take national action to improve cancer control for all Australians.

"In addition, all Health Ministers have agreed to establish a working group to improve radiation oncology services across Australia which will also be of great benefit to cancer patients."

Senator Patterson said that the report would make a valuable contribution to Australia’s world class cancer control initiatives.

Media contact: Randal Markey, Office of Senator Patterson, 0417 694 520

Kay McNiece, Dept. Health & Ageing, 0412 132 585