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Newcastle University pioneering cancer research with $4.4 million Cancer Council funding boost

25th November 2015 - Cancer research Organisational news

Leading Australian researchers at the University of Newcastle will today be awarded over $4.4 million in funding from Cancer Council NSW for two ground-breaking cancer research projects.

In a world-first, one of the programs will implement a new system of patient-centred care across cancer treatment centres in NSW.

This innovative system is designed to improve cancer survivor outcomes by integrating the treatment of cancer with additional care strategies, which includes relief of physical discomfort, and providing emotional support, education and information resources.

The research team, led by Laureate Professor Rob Sanson-Fisher, predict that this patient-centred care will be effective in reducing levels of anxiety and depression among survivors, and enhancing their quality of life.

Professor Sanson-Fisher said that cancer patients and survivors continue to report inadequate levels of care, both physically and psychologically, throughout their journey and that this needs to change.

“If we are to achieve significant long-term improvements in the outcomes of cancer survivors, we need to make big changes to the system in which that care is provided.

“Our approach will involve working collaboratively with cancer patients, healthcare experts and institutions in which this care is provided to ensure that can happen”, said Professor Sanson-Fisher.

The second project, led by Professor John Wiggers, will investigate community programs and services that can reduce modifiable cancer risk factors such as tobacco smoking, poor diet, physical inactivity, risky alcohol consumption and obesity, and ensure that these programs and services are easily accessible.

“We know that modifying our lifestyle can help prevent certain cancers, but it’s very important that a supportive environment exists to help people do this.

“Our study will challenge current approaches to community cancer prevention programs and provide the much needed evidence on how to implement more effective programs to significantly reduce the burden of cancer at a population level”, said Professor Wiggers.

The funding has been provided by Cancer Council NSW as part of their 2016 Program Grants, which has awarded close to $9million dollars to visionary researchers across NSW.

Shayne Connell, Regional Manager for Cancer Council NSW Hunter Central Coast said it was fantastic to see researchers within the Hunter region as deserving recipients of this vital funding.

“Our Program Grants are awarded to some of Australia’s best researchers, based on where we can make the most gains in reducing the impact of cancer in the community.

“It’s great to see two University of Newcastle teams receive this funding, made possible by the communities’ support for Cancer Council NSW events and initiatives in the region.

“We look forward to seeing the progress made by each of the research teams that will make a significant contribution to reduce the impact of cancer”, said Mr Connell.

Professor Sanson-Fisher and Professor Wiggers will be attending Cancer Council Hunter Research Forum including a breakfast by the beach on Wednesday 25 November at 7:30 – 9am at Merewether Surfhouse, Henderson Parade.

For more information on Cancer Council NSW research visit


Media Contact: Airlie Winter-Irving, PR Officer, 0405 415 126, (02) 9334 1883

Media Interviews available

Professor Rob Sanson-Fisher, University of Newcastle School of Medicine and Public Health
Professor John Wiggers, University of Newcastle School of Medicine and Public Health
Shayne Connell, Regional Manager for Cancer Council Hunter Central Coast

Cancer research Organisational news