Publish Date: 
Friday, March 1, 2019 - 09:15

Improving bladder cancer outcomes for patients

Bladder cancer affects one in 68 Australians.  It is the most expensive cancer per capita to treat.  The diagnosis and monitoring of the cancer is very intrusive; and it is one of the few cancers to show a significant decrease in the five year survival rates.

To begin to raise awareness of the cancer, Associate Professor Elizabeth Williams, a Queensland University of Technology (QUT) researcher based at the Translational Research Institute and Dr Ian Vela, a urologic oncologist from the Princess Alexandra Hospital founded the Queensland Bladder Cancer Initiative (QBCI).

One of QBCI’s first initiatives was ‘The Bladder Cancer: Let’s start the conversation’ event at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday 19 February supported by the Translational Research Institute.  The Hon Ken Wyatt MP, Minster of Senior Australians and Aged Care, and co-chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Cancer Causes group opened the event and spoke to a bipartisan group of 11 MPs and Senators and  advisors.

The playlist, generated by QBCI early career researcher Dr Patrick Thomas, was completely composed of musicians diagnosed with bladder cancer and included Frank Sinatra, Jack Lemmon, and Andy Williams. Dr Vela then discussed the clinical significance of bladder cancer, emphasising that as our population ages bladder cancer will become an increasing issue for individuals, their carers, and the health care system.

Mr Adam Lynch, founder of the BEAT Bladder Cancer Australia charity, explained the focus of the charity on education, awareness, and support for people affected by bladder cancer. He described their current campaign “Blood in your pee? See your GP” and the support for the trialling of bladder cancer care nurses.

A/Professor Elizabeth Williams discussed how investment in strategic and innovative research could improve the patient experience and outcomes through advances in diagnostic and monitoring tools, increasingly personalised therapeutic strategies, and investigator-lead clinical trials.

The group has been invited back to extend discussions about bladder cancer once the new parliament has formed following the upcoming Federal Election.

Back row L-R: Adam Lynch (BEAT Bladder Cancer Australia charity), Damian Topp (CEO, PA Foundation), Dr Ian Vela (Urologic Oncologist, PA Hospital) . Front row L-R: Mario Pennisi (Consultant), A/Prof Elizabeth Williams (Head, Tumour Models, Faculty of Health, QUT), Louise Morland (Director - Communications and Marketing, TRI), Christine LaRose (BEAT Bladder Cancer Committee) and Dr Patrick Thomas (QBCI early career researcher, QUT).