This World Cancer Day, 4 February, was the beginning of a month-long public health awareness campaign for Peter Mac, with our experts speaking in communities across Victoria.

Modelling by the Victorian Cancer Registry at the Cancer Council Victoria, estimates more than 2,500 cancer diagnoses were missed between 1 April 2020 and 15 October 2020, with 5,446 (10%) fewer pathology notifications received.

Peter Mac also experienced a reduction in referrals of up to 40 per cent across some tumour streams during the pandemic.

With statistics like this in mind, Peter Mac clinicians and researchers joined community members from Edenhope to Melton, shining a light on the importance of the early detection and timely treatment of cancer.

Peter Mac Chief Medical Officer Dr David Speakman joined the mayor of Horsham Rural City Council, Councillor Robyn Guilline, via Zoom to answer questions from locals and remind the community not to put off getting a test or seeing their GP with any health concerns.

Meanwhile Principal Research Radiation Therapist Dr Nigel Anderson made the trip out to Edenhope in far west Victoria to speak at the Edenhope Community Centre. Many attendees travelled more than an hour to hear more about what they could be doing to reduce their cancer risk.

Melton City Council held a hybrid event with some attendees gathering at the Melton Library and others tuning into a live streamed webinar. There Senior Dietitian Jane Harrowfield and Breast Care Nurse Consultant Melanie Fisher shared their respective expertise and cancer prevention advice.

The message that “prevention is better than cure” was made clear by all presenters and feedback from local councils has been overwhelmingly positive, with many requesting to be involved in community outreach activities in the future.

The willingness of Peter Mac employees to share their knowledge for improved public health awareness in regional communities goes to the heart of what Peter Mac is about.

To view the recordings, see:

  • Dr David Speakman on cancer prevention – view here
  • Professor David Bowtell on ovarian cancer – view here
  • Dr Ben Teh on COVID-19 vaccination for cancer patients – view here
  • Dr David Kok and SunSmart’s Heather Walker on skin cancer prevention – view here