Priority 4: Cancer research

High-quality cancer research is vital to ensure the health system, in particular system improvements, are based on the best available evidence. This is supported by trained and motivated staff who are actively engaged in research projects when appropriate.


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Strengthen cancer research capacity, translation into practice and impact and improve patient, family and carer experience

Our actions for the next five years

Our actions for the next five years
# Action


Invest in cancer research infrastructure in NSW, and promote national and international collaboration.


Enhance access to and participation in cancer clinical trials, with a focus on communities that experience poorer cancer outcomes.


Provide easy-to-understand information to people experiencing cancer, their families and carers to support their involvement in cancer research. .


Support primary care providers to encourage people to participate in cancer clinical trials and other research.


Build the capability of the cancer control workforce to engage and participate in cancer research, including clinical research.


Improve the ability to link databases to support cancer control research and get a better understanding of people's overall health.

To have the most impact, the results of cancer research need to be routinely and rapidly translated into clinical practice and guidelines.

Research is key across all parts of cancer care – for example, to support best-practice approaches to prevention, to identify ways to enhance participation in screening programs, or to make sure that people with cancer receive the best possible treatment, care and support.

For some people with cancer, clinical trials offer the best option for effective care, treatment and support. However, improvements are needed in access to and participation in clinical trials:

  • For every 100 people diagnosed with cancer in NSW, there were six enrolments in a cancer clinical trial in 2019–20.3
  • In 2019–20, there were differences in the number of cancer clinical trials open for recruitment between different NSW local health districts (LHDs) and specialty networks (SNs). Metropolitan LHDs tended to have more cancer clinical trials open for recruitment as compared to regional, rural and remote LHDs.3
  • There is a lower participation in cancer clinical trials amongst focus populations, including multicultural communities, Aboriginal communities and those living in regional, rural and remote areas.  


My specialists tried for ages to get me on a clinical trial but it’s not easy. You have to be sick, but not too sick. You have to have the right cancer. You have to be in the right location. Eventually I got on one and honestly it saved my life. I don’t think I would be here without that.”Person who has experienced cancer share block quote


Putting the principles into practice

Examples may include:

For equity of outcomes, providing opportunities to participate in clinical trials for those living in regional and rural areas, for example through virtual care.

For person-centredness, ensuring all information about participation in clinical trials is clear and easy to understand.

For collaboration, building greater links between researchers within NSW, across Australia and internationally to ensure that the people of NSW have access to cutting-edge clinical trials and best practice cancer treatment, care and support.


What success looks like


For the health system

The people of NSW have access to cancer services underpinned by world-class research that is routinely translated into clinical practice.

For people at risk of or affected by cancer, their families, and carers

I know there is investment in research that is improving the cancer system – from prevention, diagnosis and treatment to survivorship and palliative care.

If I am diagnosed with cancer, I can access world-class treatment, including clinical trials if these are appropriate for me. I feel confident to participate in cancer research.