Anthony Albanese pledges $1.5m to improve metastatic cancer data collection in tribute to Peta Murphy

Anthony Albanese has pledged $1.5m to improve outcomes for people with metastatic breast cancer, in a tribute to the late Peta Murphy.

Ms Murphy, who died in December, had been a strong advocate for breast cancer research and care, especially during her four-year parliamentary career.

Just days before her death, Ms Murphy had been in Canberra to launch a new report with Breast Cancer Network Australia, calling for a national picture on metastatic cancers.

The Prime Minister will heed her call when he makes the announcement at a breast cancer event in Dunkley – the electorate Ms Murphy held and which is now up for a by-election.

Mr Albanese will pay tribute to the advocacy of people with metastatic breast cancer, including the late Ms Murphy, in ensuring their voices are reflected in health policy.

He said the money would accelerate the collection of cancer stage and recurrence data in Australia, which he noted was critical for identifying patterns of delayed diagnosis, cancer recurrence and survival, and would drive equity in cancer outcomes.

“Today, we are announcing a $1.5m investment to better track cancer stages and recurrence data – because the more we know, the better we can help,” he said.

“Having this information in one place will make our screening and testing processes better, to make sure we’re putting resources where it’s needed most.”

The investment includes funding for the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare to establish the Australian Cancer Data Alliance, and funding for jurisdictional population-based cancer registries to boost capabilities of data collection.

Vicki Durston, from Breast Cancer Network Australia, said Ms Murphy “would have been so incredibly proud that we are now closer to ensuring that many thousands of Australians with metastatic breast cancer will no longer be hidden in plain sight”.

“This funding is a significant step forward, and will help the sector lead and pioneer the collection of these important data to inform and drive policy, innovation, planning, treatment and care.

“Now we can begin consolidating a way forward for better quality data, not just for breast cancer, but for all metastatic cancers.”

Health Minister Mark Butler said being able to collect these data would mean a “better understanding of the symptoms people have, how their cancer is diagnosed, how they respond to treatment, and how their cancer progresses over time”.

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