While cancer outcomes in Australia are generally among the best in the world,  this is not the case for liver cancer that has defied this positive trend becoming Australia’s fastest growing cause of cancer death. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C remain the primary risk factors for developing liver cancer, and liver cancer is largely preventable through sufficient action on hepatitis B and hepatitis C prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care. This year’s World Cancer Day theme, observed on February 4, was “Close the Care Gap.” This theme highlights inequities in cancer responses and is consistent with Hepatitis Australia and the sector’s advocacy to the redevelopment of the National Hepatitis B and National Hepatitis C Strategies; seeking to elevate the role of these strategies in averting thousands of preventable cancer deaths.

Hepatitis Australia has also recently engaged in the public consultation to develop the Australian Cancer Plan. This 10 year plan will set a transformative agenda to accelerate world-class cancer outcomes and improve the lives of all Australians affected by cancer. With worsening outcomes for liver cancer front of mind, Hepatitis Australia is buoyed by intentions for the Australian Cancer Plan to be equity focused, striving for equitable cancer outcomes across all population groups. Within its submissions, Hepatitis Australia supported the inclusion of hepatis B, hepatitis C and liver cancer within the Australian Cancer Plan, in particular the cross referencing of National Strategies; the inclusion of hepatitis B and hepatitis C as modifiable risk factors for cancer; and the identification of liver cancer as a cancer type with relatively poor outcomes. Hepatitis Australia also sought to highlight liver cancer specific opportunities or resources that should inform the implementation of the Australian Cancer Plan including universal offer of testing for hepatitis B and liver cancer guideline development.

Read Hepatitis Australia’s December 2022 Submission to the Australian Cancer Plan Public Consultation.
Read Hepatitis Australia’s March 2022 Submission to the Australian Cancer Plan Public Consultation Phase One.

More information on World Cancer Day here.

Watch the All.Can World Cancer Day Event on Delivering accessible cancer care.