5 May 2023

The Lung Cancer Policy Network is pleased to learn of the Australian Government’s recent decision to dedicate more than AUD $500 million to reducing the burden of lung cancer and driving equitable cancer outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

More than half of this funding – AUD $263.8 million – will go towards implementing a national lung cancer screening programme. The programme aims to increase the rate of early lung cancer detection, which should improve outcomes across the country. The screening programme will commence in July 2025 and target high-risk individuals.

Lung cancer disproportionately affects First Nations people in Australia. Compared with non-Indigenous Australians, these individuals are twice as likely both to be diagnosed with lung cancer and to die from it. To combat this, AUD $238.5 million of the funding has been allocated to help achieve equity in overall cancer outcomes for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Network member Professor Dorothy Keefe (CEO of Cancer Australia) responded to the announcement, saying:

‘Lung cancer is Australia’s biggest cancer killer, and we know that early detection is key to improving survival rates. The new screening programme will help to identify lung cancer at an earlier stage when treatment is more likely to be successful.’

This funding decision brings the Network one step closer to our aim of improving lung cancer survival worldwide. We hope Australia will lead the way in demonstrating how large-scale early detection programmes and an emphasis on working towards health equity are key to reducing the burden of lung cancer.

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