Health minister Greg Hunt has announced the federal government will provide more than $600,000 to the Leukaemia Foundation as part of Australia’s first National Strategic Action Plan for Blood Cancer.
"Throughout the Blood Cancer Awareness Month of September, there is no better time to shine a light on the tireless work of the Leukaemia Foundation and its efforts to bring Australia’s first comprehensive plan to improve outcomes for people diagnosed with blood cancer to life," said Mr Hunt.
Around 17,000 Australians are diagnosed with blood cancer each year. Survival rates are improving, boosted by the emergence of new treatments. There are estimated to be more than 5,000 deaths from the disease each year.
Mr Hunt said the funding for the Leukaemia Foundation will go towards the delivery of Optimal Care Pathways for blood cancer patients. It will also enable the Blood Cancer Taskforce to continue its work.
"Optimal Care Pathways will provide wide-ranging, evidence-based recommendations for best practice care, from the point of diagnosis, through treatment, survivorship and end-of-life care," said Mr Hunt, adding the Coalition government has delivered more than $5 billion for blood cancer medicines through the PBS.
"Our Government recently provided access to ground-breaking CAR-T cell therapy for several types of Leukaemia and lymphoma," he said.
The Leukaemia Foundation welcomed the national plan with the roadmap to achieve the vision of zero lives lost to blood cancer by 2035.
Leukaemia Foundation Acting CEO Alex Struthers said, “Today, together, we turn the tables on blood cancer in this country.
“The release of the National Action Plan backed by the support of the Federal Government marks a paradigm shift to change the face of treatment and survival outcomes for all Australians facing blood cancer.
“We congratulate the Federal Government for elevating the growing issue of blood cancer to the national agenda. This is a vital moment in time which will lead to significant, positive change for people across our country living with this disease for generations to come.
“We are delighted to continue as the lead organisation to support the Taskforce in its work to implement the recommendations of the National Action Plan.”