Bill's Press Releases


A Shorten Labor Government will boost research into advanced breast cancer and brain cancer, with a $20 million investment in the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute.

One Australian will be diagnosed with cancer every four minutes, and advanced breast cancer and brain cancer both have low survival rates compared with other cancers.

Olivia Newton-John’s cancer relapse after 25 years has highlighted that late relapse of breast cancer – decades after successful initial treatment - remains a huge clinical challenge. The five year survival rate for advanced breast cancer is estimated to be less than 30 per cent, compared to 90 per cent for primary breast cancer, and an estimated 2,500 Australians die each year due to late recurrence of breast cancer.

At the same time, around 1,900 Australians are diagnosed with brain cancer each year. The five year survival rate for brain cancer is just 22%, a statistic that has not improved since the 1980s. Brain cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for young people (0-24 years) and the second-leading cause of cancer death for adults aged 25-49.

Medical research will be critical to changing this picture.

Labor’s investment will allow the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute to target these two cancers, and enable:

  • The establishment of a Breast Cancer Metastasis and Dormancy Research Initiative - Around 10-15 per cent of breast cancer survivors are at risk of breast cancer relapse decades after first diagnosis. Research by clinicians and scientists will aim to develop and implement a rapid test to identify breast cancer patients at risk of late relapse.
  • The accelerated development of new brain cancer treatments by supporting ongoing work on the biology of brain cancers.

Today’s announcement builds on the previous Labor Government’s $15 million investment to the establishment of the Olivia Newton John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre, and will build on the centre’s strong record in medical research.

Australia’s next big medical breakthrough is dependent on giving our world-class researchers the resources and support they need. Investing in medical research is an investment in our future health.

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