• Dr. Mai Frandsen a Launceston researcher from the University of Tasmania’s health faculty is investigating whether incentives can help pregnant women to stop from smoking.
• The Cancer Council has written to the Prime Minister seeking federal support to build a $60 million cancer treatment centre at Bowden in Adelaide’s inner north-western suburbs, to help meet a projected accommodation shortage for cancer patients travelling from regional areas for care.
• Patients with advanced skin cancer will soon have affordable access to a promising new immune-based treatment, following its listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
Health News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 29th June 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
A Launceston researcher is investigating whether incentives can help pregnant women stop smoking.
Dr Mai Frandsen from the University of Tasmania’s health faculty is recruiting expectant mothers aged 16 and over who have smoked in the past week and want to stop.
Dr Frandsen said the women who participate in the research will be contacted each month to see how their efforts were going, and would be rewarded for success.
“Every month that they come and see me that they’ve quit smoking, I’m going to give them a $50 shopping voucher, as a reward for quitting,” she said.
Dr Frandsen said researchers in the UK had discovered that giving women incentives to stop smoking could be cheaper than fixing health problems later on.
“Regardless of how much you’re paying these women in incentives, you end up with a net benefit of around $3,000 at the end of the day.
Dr Frandsen is the recipient of a three-year joint Cancer Council and University of Tasmania Research Fellowship.
The University of Tasmania has provided $20,000 to pay for the “Supporting Expectant Women to Quit Smoking Study”.
Dr Frandsen is currently recruiting women in the Launceston area but hopes to extend the study to the north-west and southern Tasmania by August.
The Cancer Council has written to the Prime Minister seeking federal support to build a $60 million cancer treatment centre at Bowden in Adelaide’s inner north-western suburbs, to help meet a projected accommodation shortage for cancer patients travelling from regional areas for care.
The Cancer Council hopes to build a centre with 180 rooms, and space for its prevention and support services such as the cancer information hotline and Quitline.
South Australian state and federal MPs signed the letter which was sent to the Prime Minister on Friday, asking for at least $20 million in federal support.
Cancer Council SA chief executive Lincoln Size said there was an urgency to the request because current infrastructure was expected to prove inadequate within another five years.
Mr Size said there were currently 121 city beds available for regional cancer patients needing treatment in Adelaide and the council provided about 33,000 nights of accommodation for patients last year.
Patients with advanced skin cancer will soon have affordable access to a promising new immune-based treatment, following its listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
The Federal Government will invest $57 million to list breakthrough drug Keytruda on the PBS, to improve the lives of more than 1,000 patients.
Health Minister Sussan Ley said the drug currently cost patients $150,000 a year, but they would now pay about $38, or just over $6 for those on concession.
She said the drug had passed through the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee and would be available from September, providing an important lifeline to more than 1,100 Australians with melanoma.
Oncologist Professor Grant McArthur, from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, said Australia had the highest rates of melanoma in the world, and added that the drug was “revolutionary”.
Australian businessman and former Melbourne lord mayor Ron Walker, who accessed the drug from the United States under a test scheme, said the treatment saved his life.
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