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Families dealing with children's cancer to get additional support

24 August, 2015

Hundreds of Australian families dealing with children's cancer will get greater support with the launch of a one-stop Children's Cancer Website today, the first of its kind in Australia.

Minister for Health Sussan Ley said the Children's Cancer Website addresses an identified gap in easily accessible and evidence-based information for children with cancer and their families during what is a highly stressful time of their lives.

Ley said about 85 children a year die from cancer and the new one-stop online shop would provide vital support to the 650 children under 15 diagnosed with cancer this year, as well as their friends and families.

"Cancer touches us all at some point and it is vital that our most vulnerable receive the support and care they need as easily as possible," Ley said.

"A diagnosis of cancer can prove to be a stressful and anxious time for anyone – let alone when it is a child – and this website aims to remove some of the stress for the hundreds of families during what is an extremely difficult time."

Ley said the innovative new website had been designed in consultation with patients and health professionals and would provide children, families and carers with the information and support they need, when they need it.

"The Abbott Government is committed to improving cancer outcomes in Australia including through increasing screening rates, improving prevention, listing more cancer medicines on the PBS and developing resources like this Children's Cancer Website is another step in the right direction," Ley said.

"That's why this website and the information it provides will be a vital resource for hundreds of Australian families and their health professionals."

Cancer Australia Chief Executive Officer, Professor Helen Zorbas said although deaths from cancer in children had fallen more than 40 per cent since 2000.

"Of the 650 children under the age of 15 who will be diagnosed with cancer this year, almost half will be under five," Zorbas said.

"Over recent decades there has been a marked improvement in survival from certain cancers and a clear decline in overall mortality among children with cancer.

"In the 1980s, only 68 per cent of children affected by cancer survived five years following diagnosis. Today, this number is about 83 per cent, and most children who have survived five years can expect to live as long as children who have not been affected by cancer.

"This website offers advice and support for children living with cancer, their families, friends and their broader community. It provides information about clinical trials and research, as well as links to resources for health professionals and researchers."

The Children's Cancer Website was developed with the guidance of an Expert Reference Group of specialist clinicians, nurses and carers of children affected by cancer, chaired Dr Luciano Dalla-Pozza.

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