In Australia gastrointestinal cancers cause more deaths than any other cancer type. Most individuals are diagnosed with late stage disease and have a poor outlook. Most research focuses on late stage disease, but this has had little impact on the number of deaths. Early cancer and pre-cancer, however, have much higher cure rates, so identifying cancer earlier is more likely and more likely to save lives; and even more should be possible if pre-cancer can be prevented from progressing to cancer. We are already undertaking research to develop new methods for identifying early gastrointestinal cancer or preventing cancer from developing.
We will establish a Centre focused on research to discover ways to diagnose gastrointestinal cancer earlier, or to prevent this cancer from developing, and reduce the number of deaths from gastrointestinal cancer in our community. Importantly, we will develop new research workforce capacity in the areas of clinical science, behavioural science, biostatistics, population health and cost-effectiveness research that will be essential to determine the best ways to move research findings into clinical practice in the wider community.