19/12/2016 - 14:30

Breast cancer centre seeks $5m

19/12/2016 - 14:30

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Perth could have a world-class integrated breast cancer treatment and research centre by 2020 if a local not-for-profit group is successful in raising more than $5 million. 

Breast cancer centre seeks $5m
Arlene Chan says there is no other facility in the state currently offering the proposed degree of advanced integrated care. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Perth could have a world-class integrated breast cancer treatment and research centre by 2020 if a local not-for-profit group is successful in raising more than $5 million. 

The Breast Cancer Research Centre - WA wants to develop a facility where patients can receive cancer diagnosis, medical treatment and support services – the first facility of its kind in the state, according to organisation founder Arlene Chan.

“Every patient has different needs and we want to provide a world-class one-stop shop,” Professor Chan told Business News.

“There is currently no facility offering this degree of advanced integrated care to breast cancer patients, where they can receive both medical treatment and the ongoing support services required – physiotherapists, psychologists and social workers.”

There are also plans for the centre to be a place of education for doctors in training, families and cancer patients.

A WA Australian of the Year 2017 finalist, Professor Chan has run the clinical trials unit at the research centre for the past 15 years, undertaking more than 30 different research projects concurrently.

BCRC WA has conducted more than 80 breast cancer trials involving over 1,000 WA patients since 2000, with advances in diagnosis and treatment leading to a 50 per cent increase in the survival rate for more than 160 patients.

“My trial site has been the highest recruitment centre in the world,” Professor Chan said.

“The results of 19 of our trials have led to a new standard of care, and it’s exciting because it means that the WA patients who entered the trials from our site received world-class treatment several years before anyone else, and many of them are alive because of that.”

It is estimated to cost more than $5 million to transform the vision of the centre into a reality, and Professor Chan hopes to secure commitments from corporates and philanthropists over the next few months, providing an opportunity for potential donors to engage with the project from beginning to end.   

“Entering the sphere of fundraising for this centre is challenging, but if you look at all the centres around the world, like the Olivia Newton John Centre in Melbourne, it’s really a bit of good luck in engaging the right people to realise the dream,” Professor Chan said.

“And that’s something completely out of my control. I can manage the patients and research and I can direct learning, but I can’t fund a centre based on a passion and a vision.

“We think it’s achievable and we hope getting the idea out to the community will enable us to secure the funds needed.” 

Potential sites are currently being discussed. 

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