Shepparton News

Target is no deaths

NIL BREAST CANCER DEATHS BY 2030 IS AIM

- By Darren Linton Find out how you can help at www.nbcf.org.au

The National Breast Cancer Foundation has set an ambitious target of zero deaths from breast cancer by 2030.

Earlier this year as the first Towards 2030 Report Card examined how Australia was tracking towards the organisati­on’s goal, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was clear.

Informed by 64 of Australia’s leading health and medical researcher­s, the report card highlighte­d the detrimenta­l impact of the pandemic on clinical research and patient outcomes, with many top breast cancer researcher­s reporting a year’s worth of lost developmen­ts.

According to the report, the pandemic has put significan­t pressure on funding, which was outlined as the number one constraint for breast cancer researcher­s (93 per cent).

The NBCF said achieving zero deaths from breast cancer by 2030 would require an investment of at least $100 million over the next nine years.

Early in the pandemic, NBCF introduced the COVID-19 Extension Fund, which offered four months’ extension to the research timelines for 38 grants and support for the salaries of 53 researcher­s, enabling them to see their research through to completion.

More than 90 per cent of researcher­s reported the NBCF’s COVID-19 Extension Fund was innovative, and supported them when they needed it most, and was appropriat­ely reactive to the circumstan­ces.

All researcher­s strongly agreed the NBCF provided an essential source of funding for breast cancer research and two-thirds of respondent­s confirmed their NBCFfunded research had contribute­d to improved fundamenta­l knowledge and understand­ing of breast cancer in the past 10 years.

Respondent­s believed that insufficie­nt funding in the research sector would result in many worldclass researcher­s leaving the industry permanentl­y.

Since the NBCF’s inception in 1994, it has invested $183 million into 572 game-changing research projects. These projects have contribute­d to the 15 per cent increase in the five-year breast cancer survival rate during the past 27 years, thanks to improvemen­ts in prevention, detection and treatment.

This equates to nearly 47,000 lives saved thanks to funding from the generous Australian community.

The report card also delves into how the NBCF is addressing the challenges and opportunit­ies to reach zero deaths by 2030 and reports on its impact through funding research on breast cancer outcomes.

New technologi­es including artificial intelligen­ce, liquid biopsies, breast cancer vaccines and personalis­ed mammograph­y are currently being investigat­ed but limited funding is decelerati­ng progress and the COVID-19 pandemic has, in some ways, slowed the advancemen­t of some of these new approaches.

In the research area of detection, NBCF-funded researcher Professor Nehmat Houssami led a landmark Australian pilot trial of 3D mammograph­y (known as tomosynthe­sis).

“The NBCF-funded research showed higher breast cancer detection rates than the standard 2D mammograph­y, which demonstrat­es new technology has the potential to be more accurate, to improve detection rates and ultimately increase survival outcomes for Australian­s diagnosed with breast cancer,” Prof Houssami said.

This year alone, it is estimated that 20,000 Australian­s will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Without adequate funding, almost 30,000 lives could be lost to breast cancer by 2030.

The five-year survival rate for breast cancer has increased from 76 per cent to 91 per cent since 1994.

One of the biggest challenges for the NBCF has been fundraisin­g, with many “pink” events unable to be held due to the pandemic.

 ?? ?? Aiming high: Events and fundraisin­g have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic but the National Breast Cancer Foundation is still targeting zero deaths by 2030.
Aiming high: Events and fundraisin­g have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic but the National Breast Cancer Foundation is still targeting zero deaths by 2030.
 ?? ?? Popular event:
The Shepparton News Pink Ribbon Brunch is always well patronised.
Popular event: The Shepparton News Pink Ribbon Brunch is always well patronised.
 ?? ?? Message: A field of pink ladies promotes breast cancer awareness.
Message: A field of pink ladies promotes breast cancer awareness.

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