New funding for liver cancer prevention welcomed
8 October 2018
Hepatitis Victoria CEO Melanie Eagle has welcomed the announcement by the Victorian Cancer Agency of $1.6 million in new funding for a project lead by the Doherty Institute to research into liver cancer prevention.
As CEO of Hepatitis Victoria, the peak not-for-profit organisation representing the needs of people living with and at risk of viral hepatitis in Victoria, Ms Eagle will bring an essential perspective, helping to ensure the research is respectful, supportive, culturally and linguistically sppropriate, and meaningfully engages with and communicates to community members.
“This is an exciting development for people living with viral hepatitis in primary care, as it aims to provide direct support and information to them and the clinicians helping them,” Melanie said.
Hepatitis Victoria and the Cancer Council Victoria have been invited to be community investigators for the project.
“I am thrilled we are so closely involved as we will gain insights into the effectiveness of the integrated intervention approach pioneered by this project,” she said.
Liver cancer is the fastest cause of cancer death in Australia and the majority of cases relate to hepatitis B and hepatitis C and are preventable. Among Australians living with hepatitis B, only 62% have been diagnosed, for hepatitis C the figure is 75%. Those who are undiagnosed are at risk of developing viral hepatitis and ultimately liver cancer.
“Mounting evidence shows that focusing on the early detection and ongoing treatment of viral hepatitis greatly reduces the risk of liver cancer in people with hepatitis B and hepatitis C,” Melanie said.
The project will improve the level of testing and diagnosis for those living with viral hepatitis, increase follow-up engagement and ongoing monitoring, and support for GPs to provide advice and information to people at risk of viral hepatitis.
“The ultimately goal of the project is reducing the risk of liver cancer and increasing early detection in Victorians, a very laudable and welcome goal,” said Melanie.