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One-stop shop for childhood cancer data: Ley

Australian families dealing with children’s cancer will get greater support with the launch of the federal government’s one-stop Children’s Cancer website.

Developed with the guidance of a group of clinicians, nurses and carers of children affected by cancer, the website aims to provide parents and families highly accessible, evidence-based information when they need it most. Sussan Ley, federal minister for health, said the website would help families during a stressful time.

“Cancer touches us all at some point and it is vital that our most vulnerable get 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.”

Professor Helen Zorbas, chief executive of Cancer Australia, said of the 650 children who will be diagnosed with cancer this year, almost half will be under age 5, though medical advances in recent decades have dramatically increased survival rates.

“In the 1980s, only 68 per cent of children affected by cancer survived five years following diagnosis,” Zorbas said. “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.”

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