Mater Research CEO appointed to new National Blood Cancer Taskforce

Wednesday 04 September 2019

Mater Research CEO Professor Maher Gandhi has been appointed to a new National Blood Cancer Taskforce to deliver Australia’s first National Strategic Action Plan for Blood Cancer.

Announced by The Hon. Greg Hunt MP, the establishment of the Taskforce marks the start of Blood Cancer Awareness Month and is the result of a nationwide report commissioned by the Leukaemia Foundation which reveals the true size, scale and impact of blood cancer and the experiences of people living with blood cancer in Australia today.

The report—State of the Nation: Blood Cancer in Australia— identifies the challenges and opportunities influencing survival and quality of life for Australians living with blood cancer.  It highlights that every day 41 Australians will be told they have blood cancer and of these people, 20 will lose their life to blood cancer.

Professor Gandhi said he was honoured to be asked to sit on the Taskforce.

“The Leukaemia Foundation’s report demonstrates how rapidly blood cancers are increasing and shows that up to 186,000 people may die as a result of blood cancer over the next 16 years,” Prof Gandhi said.

“I feel very privileged to be asked to sit on the taskforce and to be a part of implementing an agenda for change that may save lives that are lost to blood cancers.”

The Blood Cancer Taskforce will unite Australia’s leading haematologists, researchers, patients and members of the blood cancer ecosystem for the first time to work with the Leukaemia Foundation to develop the National Strategic Action Plan, which will provide the blueprint to help tackle the key issues facing the blood cancer community today and into the future.

The report identifies four key priorities to tackle blood cancer: empowering patients, ensuring equity of access, accelerating research and catalysing health service reform.

Leukaemia Foundation CEO Bill Petch said the formation of the Taskforce and development of the National Strategic Action Plan together mark a major milestone for the blood cancer community and will set the national agenda around blood cancer for many years to come.

“Advances in treatment and care over the past 40 years have transformed the way Australians live with a blood cancer, however the path to conquering blood cancer is long and requires improved access for all Australians to the right information, the best treatments and services, and the latest treatments, tests and diagnostic tools, to help people with blood cancer not only to survive – but also to live well,” Mr Petch said.

“For the past 40 years, the Leukaemia Foundation has supported and advocated for people living with blood cancer in Australia. Now we are looking forward to leading a new era of change for the Australian blood cancer community by partnering with industry, government, medical professionals and everyday Australians to realise the goal of zero lives lost to blood cancer by 2035,” he said.

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