More Help for Tasmanian Cancer Patients Wed 17 October 2012 Michelle O'Byrne Minister for Health The Minister for Health, Michelle O'Byrne, today launched a new online directory to provide greater support for Tasmanians with cancer, their families and the health professionals who care for them. Ms O'Byrne said the directory brings together available help and support into one place to make accessing help as easy as possible for patients. "There is help out there but accessing that help can be difficult while going through the trauma of cancer diagnosis and treatment," Ms O'Byrne said. "The online directory will better inform patients about what services are available locally and allow them to take more control. "The directory also provides guidelines to help health professionals when they are providing care and treatment." The directory was developed by the Cancer Council Tasmania in partnership with the CanNET II Tasmania Project Team and was jointly funded by the DHHS and Cancer Australia. It can be accessed at http://directory.cancersupportcentre.org.au Ms O'Byrne said the launch of the online directory underlined the Government's support for cancer patients. "Cancer is one of the biggest causes of death in Tasmania, and therefore a major health priority." Ms O'Byrne said the latest figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found breast cancer, prostate cancer, bowel cancer and melanoma of the skin were the four most common cancers in Australia. "The data shows the likelihood of Tasmanians surviving three of the four most commonly diagnosed cancers - prostate cancer, breast cancer and melanoma of the skin - for at least five years after diagnosis is 90 per cent or higher. "This is a little better than the national average for these cancers." Ms O'Byrne said the Government maintained a strong support for screening programs. "In addition, we are funding specialist cancer centres at the Royal Hobart Hospital, and the Launceston General Hospital, and construction begins soon on a Regional Cancer Centre at Burnie. "At the Royal, the total commitment is $31.6 million in 2012-2013, with $13.9 million from the Australian Government, $16.5 million from the State and donated contributions from the Menzies Centre ($600 000) and the Cancer Council ($600 000). "At the Launceston General Hospital, $2.7 million will be used for upgrading and expanding Medical Oncology during 2012-2013." Ms O'Byrne said the Department was continuing to work with the Australian Government on the construction of a purpose-built North West Regional Cancer Centre at Burnie housing chemotherapy, palliative care and teaching facilities.