This World Cancer Day, the MPCCC is celebrating the invaluable contribution of consumer and community involvement in supporting and prioritising cancer research.

We asked our five Consumer and Community Representatives from the MPCCC Advisory Group to share their aspirations for the future focus of cancer research.

Vivienne Interrigi, who received treatment for breast cancer at Monash Health in 2018, says “without research, I would not be here; I would not be alive”.

“My hope is that cancer research continues to be well-funded, and that the people who ensured my experience with cancer led me to where I am today continue doing their excellent work to improve medications and find new ways to target cancer,” Ms Interrigi adds.

Ms Coral Keren has experience as both a patient and a carer, and says “my wish in 2021 is that clinical trials become more readily accessible across Australia, and are not only for people whose doctors are ‘in the know’”.

Natalie Maxwell-Davis also has experience as both a patient and a carer. “Even little, seemingly inconsequential things can impact a patient’s experience in a significant way, and understanding the perspective of both patients and carers is vital to improving cancer services,” says Ms Maxwell-Davis.

“What I would like to see in 2021 is patients at the centre of research and service delivery programs,” she adds.

Anna Steiner, a patient and Associate Investigator on several blood cancer research grants at MPCCC, says “I believe that patient-focused cancer care and support should be delivered equitably across Victoria in 2021”.

“In my opinion, a strong focus on cancer prevention and education is vital, and it’s important to have these programs in urban, regional and rural areas that target different members of the community effectively,” Ms Steiner adds.

Ken Young, a patient and founder of charity Myeloproliferative Disorders Australia (MPD-Oz), a patient email support list for patients and families facing rare blood cancers, says “Research has been at the core of my survival. The gene mutation involved in my cancer was only discovered 7 years after my diagnosis.”

“Now, 16 years later, there are new and effective treatments leading to improve quality of life and survivorship. A strong coalition of patient, clinician and researchers, such as those found at MPCCC, are at the heart of these positive outcomes,” Ken adds.

These views, and other contributions from people affected by cancer, are essential to ensuring that future cancer research is centred around the needs of our community.

MPCCC’s Consumer and Community Representatives are working to help shape the future of MPCCC’s research programs and activities, as it starts the development of its strategic plan 2021-2025.