Co-hosted by Health Issues Centre and VCCC Alliance

Health Issues Centre was delighted to co-host the Cancer Communities Forum on Wednesday 13th September with the VCCC Alliance. This Forum brought together members of the community, researchers and clinicians to explore the big questions around targeted cancer treatment and the growing trend towards tailored treatments for cancer.

With 59 attending in person at the Melbourne Convention Centre and 30 virtual attendees, participants were invited to submit questions to the Forum’s panel. Each question was answered by a person with lived experience and a cancer expert, bringing two distinct perspectives to the discussion.

Mr John Asgari, an experienced consumer advocate and representative including in the cancer field, said one of the key reasons he attended the Forum was to ensure his knowledge and understanding of precision oncology was current. Although he did not submit any questions to the panel, Mr Asgari commended the approach taken by the Forum’s organisers.

“It was so valuable for the audience to hear a response to a question from a clinician and a consumer – you could directly hear about the benefits and barriers from both sides. This added to the strong feeling…that we were all there to learn from each other and work together to achieve better outcomes.”

Health Issues Centre’s CEO Alison Coughlan, who chaired the Forum, agreed with Mr Asgari.

“It was wonderful to be a part of a very open and honest conversation about some of the challenges of navigating the increasingly complex pathways to achieving best cancer care. This includes acknowledging some of the inequities that exist within our system and how we must continue to innovate and work collaboratively to overcome these barriers so that all Victorians can benefit from our medical and scientific advancements.”

The Forum was held at the conclusion of the VCCC Alliance Research Conference and covered a diverse range of topics, shaped by the audience. As always, we look forward to improving the Forum for future years, with Mr Asgari recommending the following:

“I would like to see this Forum embedded into the conference to encourage more opportunities for clinicians, researchers and consumers to engage and interact. And more time allocated to the Forum – so many unanswered questions to discuss!”

Health Issues Centre and the VCCC Alliance would like to acknowledge the valuable contribution of our panel members: Kathy Minas, Christobel Saunders, Paul Baden, Hayley Beer, Victoria Sharp and Damien Kee. We would also like to thank the members of the community who attended both online and in person and contributed questions to the Panel.

The recording of this sessions is now available online at VCCC Alliance Centre for Cancer Education.