$24 million funding commitment for Canteen’s Youth Cancer Services

April 7, 2019

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Shadow Health Minister Catherine King today announced a $24 million funding commitment over the next four years to secure the continuation of Canteen’s internationally recognised Youth Cancer Services.

Each year approximately 1,000 Australians aged 15 to 25 will be diagnosed with cancer and 150 will die from their disease. Youth Cancer Services deliver specialist, coordinated medical and psychosocial support across Australia using a flexible multidisciplinary team-based approach to youth-friendly care.

This approach ensures that young cancer patients have equitable access to services that consider their youth-specific needs across the complete disease trajectory from diagnosis right through to treatment, survivorship and at times palliative care.

Canteen CEO, Peter Orchard, expressed the organisation’s excitement about Labor’s commitment to further funding of Canteen’s Youth Cancer Services.

“This is extraordinarily good news for young cancer patients right across Australia. Youth Cancer Services are vital in that they ensure young patients get not only the very best treatment, but also psychological and emotional support for dealing with the enormous impact that a cancer diagnosis has on many aspects of their life including; fertility, isolation from their peers and disconnection from education.”

The first 10 years of the Youth Cancer Services Program and the initiation of the Australian Young Cancer Patient Clinical Trials Initiative has been an internationally recognised success. The Labor led Australian Government funded Canteen to establish the innovative, world-class Youth Cancer Services (Phase 1: $15M, 2009-13) and extended its investment in 2013 to grow its reach (Phase 2: $18.2M, 2013-17).

Canteen has valued Labor’s ongoing support because we have continued to embed this service in recent years (Phase 3: $15M, 2017-20) with Commonwealth support.

Youth Cancer Services achievements include:

  • Three quarters of newly diagnosed patients requiring hospital care are seen by the Youth Cancer Services. Many more are supported closer to home, including in rural and remote settings, via secondary consultations, shared care and telehealth initiatives.
  • A multi-disciplinary approach sees patients assessed for psychosocial needs during and after treatment, offered targeted support and fertility preservation advice.
  • This is an innovative example of team based, coordinated care, operating successfully across a national network of hospitals. It has attracted substantial co-investment from State Governments and not-for-profit organisations, including Canteen, representing a truly collaborative national cross-sector initiative.
  • Canteen manages contracts with each jurisdiction to drive performance, improve health and research outcomes, and ensure efficiency and accountability of taxpayer funds.

This newly committed ongoing funding of $6.0 million each year will enable the Youth Cancer Services to continue to:

  • Operate an innovative national network of multi-disciplinary YCS teams, ensuring equitable access to specialist care for those who need it most and supporting professionals in regional, rural and remote settings to offer youth friendly care to those who can be treated closer to home.
  • Further embed national data collection, analysis and world-leading research into practice, including exploring the chronic impact of cancer on young people, ensuring innovation, quality and safety are central to YCS care.
  • Provide national professional development and networking opportunities for health professionals in specialist skills in treating young cancer patients through the YCS Community of Practice online community and annual meetings, ensuring the hospital system works for young cancer patients.

About Canteen:

Canteen is the Australian organisation for young people impacted by cancer, whether that is their own diagnosis or that of a family member. We are leaders in youth cancer, and we have over 30 years of experience in improving the lives of young people living with cancer.

Canteen has a proven track record of working with Cancer Australia, hospitals, universities, and jurisdictions in delivering the highly innovative and internationally regarded Youth Cancer Services. A national network of eminent youth cancer health professional experts is now firmly established, guiding Canteen in Program Strategy, Service Delivery, Data Access and Clinical Trials Innovation.

Canteen is highly regarded internationally for our role in improving the treatment and care of young patients and for the quality our research and has worked with partners in the UK and USA to establish the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Global Accord to drive international action on AYA cancer Canteen puts young people at the centre of all that we do.

Building on a decade of successful youth engagement in these programs, young patients will continue to have a central role in advising on youth-appropriate delivery of treatment, support and innovation in practice.

For more information on Canteen visit www.canteen.org.au or call 1800 226 833.


Media contact: Suzanne Riley – Head of Marketing and Communications Manager, Canteen
0466 924 740 / suzanne.riley@canteen.org.au