Peter Mac News

Improving Australia’s response to neuroendocrine cancer

12 June 2024

Peter Mac’s NET Service welcomes the findings of a Senate inquiry into improving outcomes for patients with neuroendocrine and other less common cancers in Australia.

Co-chair Associate Professor Grace Kong plus other key members of the NET Service, and a NET patient, addressed the Senate committee during hearings earlier this year.

Senate Public Hearing Photo 01.02.2024 smallerFrom left: Dr Ben Loveday (Hepatobiliary Surgeon), Susanne Manks (patient), Kate Wakelin (NET Clinical Nurse Consultant), Assoc Prof Grace Kong (Nuclear Medicine Physician) and Meredith Cummins (CEO, NeuroEndocrine Cancer Australia).

The committee’s report - now published online - contains 41 recommendations aimed at improving equity, access and outcomes and highlights area of unmet need.

The disparity is greatest for culturally and linguistically diverse people – including Aboriginal and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people - and people who live in regional and remote areas.

“Pleasingly, the recommendations address several areas of need identified by Peter Mac including improving accessibility for imaging throughout diagnosis, surveillance and restaging,” says Associate Professor Kong.

Other welcome recommendations of the report include:

  • Enabling increased reimbursements and equitable access for MRI, PET and CT services throughout the diagnosis, surveillance and restaging of rare cancers.
  • Investigating opportunities to increase equitable uptake and access to genomic screening and profiling for Australians.
  • In partnership with state and territory governments, and the higher education sector, to review the emerging educational and workforce skill needs in relation to precision oncology, genomics, molecular curation and theranostics.
  • Broadening indication coverage for medicines that treat rare and less common cancers, including neuroendocrine cancer.
  • Improving access to clinical trials, including tele-trials and expansion of include travel and accommodation costs for clinical trial participants.
  • Providing improved access to specialised nursing.
  • Providing funding and participation incentives for staffing positions and training opportunities for medical professionals and researchers interested in specialising in rare and less common cancers, including neuroendocrine cancers.

The “Equitable access to diagnosis and treatment for individuals with rare and less common cancers, including neuroendocrine cancer” report can be read in full here.

Peter Mac’s NET Service was the first outside of Europe to be granted “Neuroendocrine Cancer Centre of Excellence” status by the European Neuroendocrine Tumor Society.

Neuroendocrine tumours (NET) develop from neuroendocrine cells, which are found throughout the body, particularly in the digestive tract, lungs, and pancreas. 

These cancers are not common with about 3,700 Australians diagnosed each year, but NET incidence is slowly increasing.