Single mum Anke Timm always remembers what her GP told her when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at 34: “This is not a death sentence.”
Now 50 and cancer-free, Ms Timm praised the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s goal of making sure no Australian woman dies of breast cancer by 2030.
She said zero deaths did not mean an end to breast cancer diagnoses.
“But I think in 10 years we will be very, very close to understanding the secrets of cancer.”
To support its goal of zero deaths, the foundation has launched a $100 million plan to determine why one in 10 women don’t survive beyond five years after diagnosis.
It will also provide funding into research on earlier diagnosis methods, immunotherapy, more personalised therapies and prevention programs.
“I’m a very big fan of talking about prevention. I think the research … is going to highlight those moments in time where we can look at preventing first then treating,” Ms Timm said.
Foundation researcher Professor John Hopper is working on new diagnosis methods to help detect breast cancer earlier.
Professor Hopper said the foundation’s 2030 goal was optimistic but, to get to zero, breast cancer prevention methods needed to be introduced earlier.
“Prevention and recognising people with high risk has to happen at young age,” Professor Hopper said.
The foundation also wants to address the information gap, with medicos and clinics failing to share information.
Professor Hopper said the federal government could step in by better coordinating diagnosis information between states and territories.
“They ask different questions about family history, they have different machines,” he said.
“The whole thing has to be optimised on a national level.”