CCNSW June 2014 Research Report Newsletter Issue 26


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CCNSW June 2014 Research Report Newsletter Issue 26

  1. 1. Research ReportIssue 26 • June 2014 Cancer Risk Factors 2 Reducing the number of tobacco retailers is a key step FEATURED: Cancer Risk Factors 3 Bringing Aboriginal women into the health system Our Insights 4 Improving support for lung cancer patients Help Us 4 Register to join one of our research studies Cancer Council 13 11 20 If you want to know more about Cancer Council visit Your risk of liver cancer increases if you are overweight Cancer Council funds key research to identify better ways to prevent and treat it New research, funded by Cancer Council NSW, is looking into why overweight Australians are more likely to get liver cancer and what treatments could help stem tumour growth. Recent data shows that liver cancer rates have risen by 152% in the past two decades, while over a similar time period obesity rates have increased by 41%. As obesity and liver cancer figures continue to increase, researchers funded by Cancer Council NSW are investigating why a reduced level of the hormone, adiponectin, may be linked to tumour changes in the liver. Research led by Dr Lionel Hebbard is looking into the role of hormones and sugars in the development and progression of liver cancer, and the results will be key to identifying new and better ways to prevent and treat liver cancer. “Our team is delighted to be awarded this grant from Cancer Council NSW,” said Dr Lionel Hebbard from the University of Sydney, “it will help us investigate why the hormone adiponectin makes liver cancer grow significantly larger, and how to develop novel ways to treat it.” This ground-breaking research is one of 16 research projects to be awarded a prestigious grant from Cancer Council NSW, the largest non-government cancer research funder in Australia. This year, Cancer Council NSW has committed more than $5.4m in new funding to these cancer research projects. Among the other 15 cancer research projects there are studies to improve outcomes for brain cancer patients; to make radiotherapy more effective; to identify the causes of DNA changes during cancer; and to create a new blood test for cancer. “We are funding some of the best cancer researchers in Australia, many of whom are globally renowned for their work,” said Dr Libby Topp, Research Strategy Manager, Cancer Council NSW. “The results of these projects could help prevent cancers by identifying cancerous gene faults early and lead to more effective treatments for brain, liver and breast cancer.” The research projects will run for the next three years and will involve research teams from across Australia and internationally. Overweight Australians are more likely to get liver cancer Dr Lionel Hebbard
  2. 2. Cancer Council 13 11 20 There are eight times more tobacco retailers than Post Offices! In NSW there are eight times as many tobacco retailers as post offices and five times as many as pharmacies, according to a Cancer Council NSW audit — and one in four of them is breaking the law. Research shows that the greater the availability of tobacco the more people smoke. Where there are many tobacco retailers nearby, children have higher smoking rates and people trying to quit find it more difficult. Smoking is the leading cause of death and disease in Australia and half of long-term smokers will die from their habit. Yet places selling tobacco are everywhere. The Cancer Council NSW retailers audit has given campaigners the vital ammunition they need to make a case for strengthening the regulations, and reducing the availability of cigarettes in the community. As a result of this advocacy the Minister of Health has set up a taskforce to investigate. Although the campaign isn’t over, this research has already influenced policy makers. Are you a cancer patient, survivor, carer, or a close family member of someone with cancer? Your experiences and insight could help improve cancer research, and we’re providing free training to equip you for this important role. If you have a close personal connection with cancer, and would like to make a difference to cancer research, we would love you to join us. Our researchers need to have community members involved because we know that this improves the quality of the research, and helps ensure that it meets the needs of the community. With a huge increase in demand last year, the need for trained survivors and carers willing to work directly with researchers has never been higher. Volunteers also help to choose which research projects Cancer Council NSW funds, as we have a panel of survivors and carers that help ensure that the research we fund will meet the needs of the cancer community. It is important to Cancer Council NSW that our community has a voice in cancer research and in cancer research funding decisions, and so we’re providing a free training course on the 5th and 6th of September in Sydney. This will impart the skills and knowledge needed to work directly with researchers, and to help us to make our funding decisions. We offer free transport and accommodation for those coming from out of town. If you’re interested, we would love to hear from you. Contact Sam Thorp on 9334 1445 or for details. You can make a difference to cancer research Tobacco retailing is the weak link in current tobacco control efforts We offer free training to help the community have a voice in cancer research In NSW there are eight times as many tobacco retailers as post offices! We want you to help us choose our research projects
  3. 3. Cancer Council NSW Research Report Issue 26 • June 2014 Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Aboriginal women, and earlier studies have shown that they have a 30% higher death rate than the rest of the population. New research by Cancer Council NSW has found that: • Aboriginal breast cancer patients tend to be younger and have a more advanced stage of cancer when diagnosed, • Aboriginal women are less likely than non-Aboriginal women to receive surgical treatment upon diagnosis, • They may be reluctant to undergo cancer treatments. This is due to fear and confusion about the health system, as well as practical barriers such as lack of transport and accommodation. With this greater understanding of why Aboriginal women have a higher death rate from breast cancer, we can start to advocate for change. To help close the gap we need to increase the number of Aboriginal women who have surgery for their breast cancer. To achieve this we not only have to improve their understanding of the health system, but also ensure they have better access to transport and accommodation, and offer them more support. A quarter of all cancer cases diagnosed in Aboriginal women are breast cancer Aboriginal women have a 30% higher death rate from breast cancer Now that we have reached our initial participants target, we are reviewing the progress of the CLEAR study that was established to find the answers to what really causes cancer. At present we are focussing on providing ‘outcomes’ from our valuable data, and will give consideration later to whether we need to continue recruiting. We will let you know if further participants are needed. In the meantime, if you would like to help cancer research by taking part in a study, please complete and send in the form on the back page. Or you could call 9334 1398 to request a questionnaire, or, even better, complete the short questionnaire online at CLEAR Study data (questionnaire data and blood samples) are now available to the cancer research community (subject to appropriate scientific and ethical approval). See for further information. CLEAR Study Update 10723COMPLETED Thank you to the 10,723 people who have joined the CLEAR Study. We need to help Aboriginal women understand the help they can get from the health system For more information, visit or email
  4. 4. For more information, visit: Learning how to support lung cancer patients A trial to compare different approaches to supporting the needs of patients with lung cancer Lung cancer is the fifth most common cancer in Australia. It is difficult to treat, as patients face physical and psychological issues, including high rates of anxiety and depression. Our ongoing research has looked at how to support patients during and following a lung cancer diagnosis. In order to improve the services that Cancer Council NSW and other organisations provide, the trial will determine whether written, telephone or online support is most helpful. During 2014 a total of 600 lung cancer patients will be offered support either by means of Cancer Council’s Understanding Lung Cancer booklet, or through Cancer Council Helpline phone support, or online support using email or messaging. After six months, they will be assessed for both their psychological wellbeing and their skill in managing their own health. Lung cancer patients need support to help them confront physical and psychological issues such as anxiety and depression Every year, on 31 May, World Health Organization and partners mark World No Tobacco Day, highlighting the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption. Tobacco kills nearly six million people each year, of which more than 600,000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke. For World No Tobacco Day 2014, WHO called on countries to raise taxes on tobacco. Raise taxes on tobacco to reduce consumption Help us beat cancer Register to join a research study today! Cancer Council and other academic bodies conduct research studies to do with cancer. These studies may be questionnaire based surveys, focus groups and interviews or other types of research. Study participants will not necessarily be cancer patients. Register your interest to be included on our database. Your story or the story of someone you know will help us find the answers. Yes, include me on the database. (If yes, we will write to ask you some additional questions relating to your health to allow us to match you to research studies that suit you.) Tick this box if you have been diagnosed with cancer in the past 18 months. (If yes, you may be eligible for the CLEAR Study and we will send you further information.) Title* First Name* Last Name* Address* Town* Postcode* Email Phone Mobile * Mandatory CAN203006/14 Return completed form to: Reply Paid 79819 Potts Point, NSW 1335 You can also register at At Cancer Council we recognise the importance of your privacy and the safeguarding of your personal information. If you have concerns about the privacy of this information, you may provide it securely online at Please be assured that in collecting this information, it will be used for research purposes only, and will be handled in accordance with our Privacy Management Plan ( which addresses our compliance with all legislative requirements.