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Plans are underway to merge two national cancer agencies.

The federal government plans to merge the commonwealth’s two leading cancer agencies – Cancer Australia and the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon said the single national agency would have a clear “leadership mandate” across all cancers.

“At a time when Australia faces an increase in cancer incidence, a strengthened Cancer Australia will help further focus our work in this important area,” Roxon said.

Merging the two agencies would reduce reporting and administration costs and make it easier for cancer stakeholders to work with government, she said.

Breast and ovarian cancer patients wouldn’t be marginalised by the shake-up, Roxon said.
“They and their families can be assured that these cancers will remain a priority of the Australian government as the new Cancer Australia will continue a focus on breast and ovarian cancer.”
Professor Ian Olver, Cancer Council Australia CEO, welcomed the move.

“Cancer incidence rates in Australia are likely to rise by around 30 per cent each decade until population ageing peaks, so it is critical that the Government’s investment in policy development and strategies is streamlined and well targeted,” Olver said.

“The planned amalgamation will promote long-term collaboration, combine the talents of both organisations and should strengthen governance arrangements.”

The proposed model has proved effective internationally, and will build on the successes in treating breast, gynaecological and ovarian cancers and create a more strategic approach to fighting cancer in this country, he said.

Helen Zorbas, chief executive of the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre, will head up the expanded Cancer Australia.

The current acting CEO of Cancer Australia, Joanne Ramadge, will be her deputy.
Australia’s chief medical officer, Jim Bishop, will chair a working group which will oversee the transition, expected to be finalised by mid-2011.

See also [[Story:23-060710]] and [[Story:22-060710]] Do you have an idea for a story?
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