News in brief: WA wants cancer centre to rival Peter Mac; Abemaciclib PBS listing extended; Conservative media users adopt antivax beliefs

28 Oct 2021

WA wants comprehensive cancer centre to rival Peter Mac

Cancer specialists in Western Australia are lobbying government to set up a comprehensive cancer facility to match those that currently exist in other states such as the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne.

Federal Parliament was told of proposals by Professor Peter Leedman, director of the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research in Perth, to develop a Western Australian centre that will bring together world-class multidisciplinary cancer care, translational research and clinical trials for the WA community in one purpose-built iconic modern facility.

Ian Goodenough, Federal Liberal Member for the electorate of Moore said WA was the only mainland Australian state without a current or developing comprehensive cancer centre such as the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse in Sydney.

“Western Australian cancer patients receive excellent clinical care. However, unlike New South Wales and Victoria, there is no single facility dedicated to the treatment of all cancers. This means that cancer patients simply navigate multiple services to get the treatment they deserve. It is fragmented,” he said.

He said the WA facility would cost around $750 million to set up, with funding sourced from the WA state government, the federal government and through corporate philanthropy.

“The benefits of having a comprehensive cancer centre based in Perth include improved patient survival and quality of life through improved access to the latest drugs via clinical trials,” he said.

“Total cancer care will be provided centrally, including diagnosis and treatment, imaging, pathology, surgery, radiotherapy, oncology, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, exercise and wellness treatments. The facility will also foster world-class translational research that attracts the best clinicians and researchers from across the world.”

Abemaciclib PBS listing extended from 1 November

Abemaciclib’s (Verzenio) PBS listing will soon cover use in non-premenopausal breast cancer patients with HR positive and HER2 negative inoperable locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer, in combination with fulvestrant.

From 1 November, eligible patients can access the drug for $41.30 per script or $6.60 with a concession card.

The extended listing is expected to help around 1,600 patients, who would normally pay $80,000 per treatment course, Australian Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt said in a statement.

It follows ribociclib’s (Kisqali) April 2021 PBS extension for use with fulvestrant in the same patient group and provides access to a choice of treatments.

Conservative media users adopt antivax beliefs: study

People who rely on conservative media outlets are more likely to accept conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic and less likely to accept pandemic mitigation measures such as mask-wearing and vaccination, a US study has found.

A national survey of 883 people running from March to November 2020 found that users of conservative media such as Fox News initially supported vaccination and trusted the Center for Disease Control (CDC) advice at the outset of the study, but continued exposure to conservative media reduced support for both. People who were exposed to conservative media displayed increasing belief in pandemic conspiracies which were associated with reduced support for pandemic prevention measures. In contrast, users of mainstream media sources showed enhanced trust in preventive behaviour and in public health authorities across the pandemic, and did not exhibit change in pandemic conspiracy beliefs over time, but heavy users of conservative media remain largely impervious to these influences.

“The selective use of these media enhances belief in conspiracies that pose challenges to the country’s ability to control a public health crisis such as the COVID pandemic,” the study authors concluded in Social Science and Medicine.

Already a member?

Login to keep reading.

Email me a login link