Cancer services

Quality cancer services that are accessible to all Australians, including those living in rural and regional areas, are a priority.

Page last updated: 16 March 2016

Integrated cancer centres
- The Chris O'Brien Lifehouse at RPA
- Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre
Kinghorn Cancer Centre
Regional cancer centres
Children's cancer centre
Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre
Additional Cancer Services

Integrated cancer centres

Integrated cancer centres are state-of-the-art centres of excellence in integrated cancer treatment and research and a key component in a national strategy to deal with the burden of cancer.

Through the Health and Hospitals Fund, the Australian Government is supporting the construction of three integrated cancer centres - Chris O'Brien Lifehouse at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, the Kinghorn Cancer Centre, Sydney and the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC), Melbourne.

Lifehouse is now open and the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre is due to be completed in 2016. These integrated cancer centres will be comprehensive facilities that draw together world class research and treatment. The centres will foster and encourage collaboration between researchers and clinicians in working towards the detection and treatment of rare and complex cancers as well as improving the outcomes for the more common cancers.

Chris O'Brien Lifehouse

The mission of Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is to improve the quality of life for cancer patients, carers and their families by advancing the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, cure and prevention of the disease. The Australian Government has committed a total of $179.5 million toward this significant facility.

Located alongside Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Lifehouse is an integrated and patient-focussed centre of excellence that opened to patients in November 2013. At Lifehouse, everything a patient needs is in one place- integrated treatment, research, education, complementary therapies and support are all under one roof.

Lifehouse currently offers out-patient clinics, radiation oncology and medical oncology. The LivingRoom, Lifehouse’s Integrative Medicine centre also offers supportive services, education and complementary therapy treatments that can be used in partnership with clinical care to help relieve stress and reduce pain and anxiety. At the end of 2014, Lifehouse opened theatres, in-patient beds and an Intensive Care Unit, becoming a complete centre of excellence for all cancer patients.

Further information on Chirs O'Brien Lifehouse can be found on the Chris O'Brien Lifehouse website.

Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC)

The VCCC will be a new, globally significant integrated cancer treatment and research facility that will become a national resource for research, diagnosis, treatment and wellness for people with cancer in Australia. The Australian Government and the Victorian Government are both contributing $426 million to the project, and, with key stakeholders also contributing around $200 million to this project, the VCCC will have a total value of over $1 billion.

The VCCC will bring together Australia's best cancer research and treatment institutions: the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Melbourne Health, the University of Melbourne, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and the Royal Women's Hospital.

The VCCC will be located in Parkville, Victoria, in new facilities on the former dental hospital site. The VCCC's new facilities will include nearly 130,000 square metres of purpose-built facilities including integrated research and training facilities and a dedicated cancer clinical trials unit.
Further information on the VCCC can be found on the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre Top of page

Kinghorn (formerly Garvan/ St Vincent's) Cancer Centre

Funding through the Health and Hospitals Fund is being provided to expand the Kinghorn Cancer Centre in Sydney to enhance its world-class research capacity.

Kinghorn will house a research and training-focused cancer treatment centre which will focus on research into the molecular biology of cancer, translational research and new treatments, and the promotion of interdisciplinary care.

It is expected that strong research links will be formed between Kinghorn Cancer Centre and The Chris O'Brien Lifehouse at RPA.

Regional cancer centres

The Health and Hospitals Fund included the establishment of a network of best practice regional cancer centres to help improve access and support for cancer patients in rural and regional Australia.

The regional cancer centres will have links to specialised and integrated cancer centres and will improve access to cancer care services for people in rural and regional areas.

Children's cancer centre

To provide care and treatment facilities for children with cancer and support for their families, funding has been committed for the construction of a purpose built children's cancer centre at the Women's and Children's Hospital in Adelaide. The centre will also provide facilities for isolating patients at risk of infection, and an improved working environment for doctors and nurses who are providing treatment. Construction of the facility was completed December 2011. Top of page

Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre

The Australian Government has contributed to the establishment of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre at the Austin Hospital in Melbourne.The centre opened in 2012.

Additional Cancer Services

BreastScreen Australia

BreastScreen Australia is the national breast cancer screening program.

BreastScreen Australia aims to continue to reduce deaths from breast cancer through early detection of the disease.

The 2013-14 Federal Budget announced funding of $55.7 million over four years to expend BreastScreen Australia's target age range from women 50-69 to women 50-74 years of age.

BreastScreen Australia invites women aged 50-74 to have the free two-yearly mammogram. Women aged 40-49 and 75 and over area eligible to receive free mammograms but do not receive an invitation to attend.

The BreastScreen Australia program is jointly funded by Commonwealth, state and territory governments. The Commonwealth provides overall policy direction and coordination, and the Program is delivered at a local level by state and territory governments.

BreastScreen Australia offers services in more than 600 locations in every state and territory. Purpose-built buses and 4WDs are also used to provide screening mammogram to women across Australia.

To book a free mammogram, contact 13 20 50. When you call to make an appointment. BreastScreen Australia will give you information about the service near you.

For more information about BreastScreen Australia please visit the BreastScreen Australia website

Commonwealth-funded McGrath Breast Care Nurses

The Commonwealth provides funding for the placement of 57 McGrath breast care nurses in communities across Australia. Around 86% of these nurses are located in rural and remote communities (see distribution in Table 1.). The remaining McGrath breast care nurses are funded through the McGrath Foundation's own fundraising efforts.

Australian Government funding for the Breast Cancer Nurses initiative began in 2008-09 with a $12.6 million commitment through to June 2013. In 2013-14 $18.5 million was committed to the McGrath Foundation for four years to 2016-17 to continue and expand the programme from 44 to 57 McGrath Breast Care Nurse positions.

The Commonwealth-funded McGrath breast care nurses are trained, registered nurses who provide information, care, and practical and emotional support to women diagnosed with breast cancer, their families and carers.

Table 1: Locations of Commonwealth-funded McGrath Breast Care Nurses

Rural/remote areas
Metropolitan areas
Moree, Armidale, Shoalhaven, Mudgee, Bathurst, Grafton, Griffith, Cooma Monaro, Young, Goulburn, Wagga Wagga, Lismore
Hornsby, North Sydney, Campbelltown, Queanbeyan, Wollongong
Warragul, Bairnsdale, Sale, Ballarat, Horsham, Colac, Warnambool, Shepparton, Benalla, Swan Hill, Mornington
Geelong, Mornington
Cairns, Mackay, Mt Isa, Gympie, Hervey Bay, Gladstone, Kingaroy, Warwick, Dalby, Roma, Townsville
Bunbury, Geraldton (x2), Albany, Narrogin, Mandurah
Wallaroo, Barmera, Victor Harbor, Port Pirie, Mt Gambier, Murray Bridge
Darwin (Royal Darwin Hospital), Darwin (Alan Walker Clinic), Alice Springs
More information on McGrath Breast Care Nurses is available on the McGrath Foundation's website.

Page last reviewed: February 2016