Queensland Cancer Funding Analysis 2023

Queensland Cancer Funding Analysis 2023

Advances in cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment have vastly improved overall cancer survival. New research discoveries, technologies and evidence-based care are extending lives and improving the quality of life for people affected by cancer. Despite these advances, cancer remains a major health problem and leading cause of death in Australia, with one in two Australians expected to develop cancer in their lifetime, and one in five dying from the disease. In Queensland alone, there are approximately 33,000 cancer diagnoses and more than 9,700 deaths from cancer every year. 

Health Translation Queensland’s (HTQ) has released a Queensland Cancer Research and Translation Funding Analysis Report March 2023 (Cancer Funding Analysis 2023). The report is a comprehensive analysis of federal research funding that is awarded to cancer research bodies in Queensland. The report also includes an analysis of Queensland’s cancer clinical trial activity, and cancer incidence and mortality rates in Queensland.  

The Cancer Funding Analysis 2023 follows on from HTQ’s Health and Medical Research Funding Analysis Report, released in April 2022, which outlines the state of play in health and medical research funding in Queensland generally, and Queensland’s position in relation to other states. It found that Queensland is not receiving an equitable share of Commonwealth health research funding.  

The Cancer Funding Analysis 2023 is also accompanied by a more detailed Queensland Cancer Research and Translation Capability Overview 2023 that showcases Queensland’s cancer research and translation capabilities through a statewide snapshot of examples.

The report reconfirmed Queensland’s strengths in discovery research and world-class, pre-clinical cancer models. It also found that Queensland has significant capabilities across a number of cancer research areas and across the spectrum of cancer patients’ journeys, with the data suggesting that Queensland researchers and/or clinicians are leaders in survivorship, symptom management and palliative care, followed by prevention and diagnosis trials.

The release of these documents is timely: An understanding of the state’s cancer research capabilities will position Queensland well to implement the 10-year Australian Cancer Plan developed by Cancer Australia.

Resources for download:

More information:

Key findings:

  • Funding outcomes for cancer are in line with the overarching Funding Analysis 2022, which shows that Queensland receives approximately 14% of NHMRC funding and 12% of MRFF funding. This is less than what would be expected given Queensland represents approximately 20% of Australia’s population and contributes 19% to Australia’s gross domestic product. 
  • Between 2018 and 2021, Queensland cancer researchers secured more than $108 million in funding from NHMRC and MRFF. 
  • Skin, gynaecological, haematological, breast and lung cancer research collectively secured over 72% of the $108 million, with cancer as a broad disease securing 21% of this funding. These cancer research areas can be considered as the strengths of the research endeavours in the state. The funding is distributed across the spectrum of a cancer patient’s journey.
  • Research activity, as indicated from the awarded federal research grants, did not match Queensland’s cancer incidence and mortalities. For example, colorectal and prostate cancer research received significantly less NHMRC/MRFF funding (collectively 2.5%) compared to the incidence and mortality of these cancers in the state. 
  • The data suggest that Queensland researchers and/or clinicians are leaders in survivorship, symptom management and palliative care, followed by prevention and diagnosis trials.
  • The dominant themes from survey responses in relation to ‘gaps’ across the state included a lack of coordination, funding, translation, dedicated time for research, clinical trial support, a centralised biobank, and clinician researcher numbers.
  • Queensland researchers tackle cancer from many angles. The reports show that Queensland has significant capability across 5 common scientific outline categories: biology; aetiology & prevention; early detection, diagnosis, and prognosis; treatment; and cancer control, survivorship, and outcomes research.
  • As a collective, the research community, state government and hospital and health services can:
    • address the disparities in cancer outcomes across cancer types and cultural, geographical, and socio-economic status.
    • provide Queenslanders with the best care across the patient journey, from prevention through to diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, and palliative care.

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