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World-first project on rare cancers

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Friday, August 26, 2011

CANCER researchers are targeting what they're calling the forgotten cancers in a world-first project involving 30,000 Australians.

While the "big five" of lung, prostate, breast, bowel and skin cancer make up 60 per cent of all diagnoses, more than half the cancer deaths in Australia are caused by less common or under-researched types of the disease.

Cancer Council Victoria chief executive Todd Harper says these rare types, such as liver, brain and bone cancer, are killers because little is known about their causes or effective treatment.

"They don't attract the same level of funding support from mainstream support organisations, yet generally the survival rates for these cancers is much poorer," Mr Harper said.

"We simply don't have the same level of knowledge about the early detection and causes that we do with the more common cancers."

The Forgotten Cancers Project hopes to collect data from 15,000 participants - 1000 sufferers of each of the 15 rare strains - to build a research platform.

A further 15,000 people who have a family member suffering from a rare type of cancer will also be targeted.

"We're looking at it as an opportunity to collect genetic information as well as behavioural and lifestyle data from the people in the study," Mr Harper said.

"That will help us look at causes of these cancers, hopefully early detection and improvements in treatment."

The Cancer Council launched the initiative, which it said was the first epidemiological-based research project in the world focusing on less common cancers, today to coincide with the 25th anniversary of Daffodil Day, its largest annual fundraising event.

The 15 target cancers for the project are bladder, bone, brain, gallbladder, kidney, leukaemia, liver, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, oesophageal, pancreatic, small intestine, stomach, thyroid and uterine cancer.

Some of these cancers have a survival rate below five per cent.

Copyright 2011 News Limited

Source: Daily Telegraph
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2.0 from 4 votes
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