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11 Dec 2019
12-December 2019

Executive Director's Message December 2019

  • Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre
Wise investment for the best outcomes

As we approach the end of 2019 it is exciting to reflect on current achievements. We are very much looking forward to 2020 as we continue to forge new approaches to cancer treatment, while doing our best to make them available to all Victorians. 

The Victorian State Government’s investment of $35.8 million over four years to fund the VCCC’s 2016-2020 program has delivered outcomes in clinical trials development, workforce capacity, high impact cancer research programs and new ways of working that will hasten the translation of research discoveries to clinical care for patients. 

We are now on the cusp of seeking further government funding for 2020-2024. The VCCC’s Improving Cancer Outcomes Business Case, developed through broad consultation this year, seeks to meet specific and ongoing challenges in our community.  Cancer is by far the greatest disease burden in Victoria and the disparities in cancer are widening, particularly for our most vulnerable communities.

The proposal – which has been crafted by many dedicated professionals with consumer input - allows the VCCC to continue to build on the capability and achievements already delivered. It will enable the alliance to address challenges in incurable cancers; disparities in access; and the reliance on the health system brought about by more Victorians living with and beyond cancer.

Continuing investment would result in ten programs that will accelerate cancer research, embed translational research into routine care, invest in initiatives to ensure world class cancer outcomes for all Victorians and lead the world in cancer education through the Victorian Centre for Cancer Education.

Steady progress in authentic engagement with consumers

One of the most fundamental ways we can improve our approaches is to collaborate more authentically with consumers, community and patients. This month I saw evidence of steady progress at back-to-back events. The Melanoma Research Victoria annual scientific exchange meeting invited the melanoma community of patients, health professionals, pharma and government to, among other objectives, establish priorities in research. Using real-time polling technology and building on a culture that has been established over many years, some rich insights were gained from the broad range of people at the meeting, the majority being consumers.

The following day the VCCC Consumer Engagement Forum 2019 was a standing-room only event attended by an equally broad range of consumers and professionals to better understand the consumer experience and to create opportunities across the alliance and community engagement in the health sector. The VCCC consumer engagement toolkit was launched at the event. Please take us up on our invitation to make this a practical, useable resource we can all share, learn from and contribute to.

We have made great strides in so many areas this year. Our team will take the briefest of pauses before we hit the accelerator again for 2020. 

Exciting start to the year early in 2020

I am personally delighted that we are actively recruiting for the Children’s Cancer Foundation Chair with applications open until 12 January 2020.

The second year of our inaugural Master of Cancer Sciences course will commence on Monday 3 February 2020. Congratulations to the outstanding 20 individuals who were awarded a 2020 scholarship. 

World Cancer Day is on Tuesday 4 February and the VCCC will host a community event to share perspectives and talk about cancer from all angles. 

Our first major forum from the Research & Education Lead, Breast Cancer team will profile all that is new, challenging and controversial in the neoadjuvant management of patients with breast cancer. Join us for a public forum on Thursday 20 February or register for the full day meeting on Friday 21 February 2020

On 12-13 March, we are very excited to present the 3rd Victorian Cancer Survivorship Conference: A 2020 Vision – Building on learnings… partnering for success.   

I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has been actively involved in or supported the work of the VCCC during 2019. It has been an enormously rewarding year.  I hope you experience a kind and caring seasonal break wherever you are. 

Professor Grant McArthur
Executive Director