30 years of global progress against cancer

30 years of global progress against cancer

It has been 30 years since radiation oncologists from Calvary Mater Newcastle joined colleagues from around Australia and across the ditch to establish the Trans-Tasman Radiation Oncology Group or TROG as it is affectionately known. Our clinicians, researchers and patients are still involved in the organisation and in TROG Cancer Research – cancer clinical trials.

TROG has facilitated hundreds of clinical trials that have helped improve the outcome and quality of life for more than 14,500 cancer patients globally. Over that time, the prognosis of cancer patients has improved considerably. In the 1980s the cancer survival rate was less than 50 per cent, today for some cancers the survival rate is as high as 90 per cent.

Providing hope to people with all cancers through one treatment – radiation therapy – TROG Cancer Research has become one of the largest clinical trial groups in Australia and New Zealand working with hospitals, universities, cancer centres and the wider community.

Calvary Mater Newcastle Radiation Oncologist and Associate Professor, Jarad Martin, is amongst many long-term TROG Cancer Research members who have had a significant impact on cancer treatment worldwide through radiation therapy research.

Jarad has contributed to research into an approach that has improved options for patients with prostate cancer. Jarad’s findings are now being used by medical facilities globally and have resulted in a reduction of treatment time from eight weeks to just four weeks with five medical visits for prostate cancer patients.

“There’s a real legacy from what TROG Cancer Research has achieved over thirty years. Their approach to clinical trials that focuses on collaboration over competition is being emulated by other organisations.

“They give opportunities to researchers by providing a vehicle to make their research possible. For me, that opportunity has transformed and improved the way a lot of people with prostate cancer are treated.

“TROG encourages and harnesses new ideas and brings people together virtually from around the world so we can tap into what I call the world brain to produce real results for patients,” Jarad said.

TROG Cancer Research’s CEO, Susan Goode, said it was hard to believe that 30 years has passed since the organisation was founded in 1989. Susan acknowledged the unwavering support of the medical and Australian/New Zealand community as a significant contributor to the organisation’s success.

Susan said, “We’ve come a long way since our humble beginnings in 1989 when members of seven radiation therapy centres across Australia and New Zealand formed clinical trial groups to advance the study of cancers that could be treated with radiation therapy.

Recently retired Radiation Oncology Staff Specialist Professor Jim Denham was one of those involved in establishing the TROG, first chairing the fledgling Australia and New Zealand multi-site group and then becoming its inaugural president.

Susan said, “Today we have medical professionals approaching us from around the world with new ideas on how to use radiation therapy to improve quality of life and treatment of a specific cancer disease. One in two cancer patients will benefit from radiation therapy, so the research we conduct is vital.”

TROG Cancer Research has facilitated over 100 cancer research trials over 30 years to enable researchers to better understand cancer and discover more effective ways of managing and treating it.

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