How to Help Cancer Research

With over 200 known types of cancer, reaching a world without cancer is not a small task but at Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF), we believe it is possible.

That is why we continuously fund the technology, equipment and infrastructure needed to develop better prevention, earlier detection and more effective treatment across all cancer types.

The good news is, you don’t have to be a scientist to advance cancer research, there are many ways you can help. Read on to learn how you can help cancer research.

What is cancer research?

There are four types and four areas of cancer research.

Types of cancer research include:

  • Basic research  – research into the biological mechanisms related to cancer, as well as the variations impacted by both ethnical or racial diversity and environmental exposures.
  • Clinical research – determines the safety and efficacy of medications, devices and diagnostics for use in humans.
  • Population and prevention research – explores the key causes of cancer, cancer trends and factors that impact the numbers and outcomes of cancer diagnosis and care.
  • Translational research  – takes results from both basic and clinical research and moves them into everyday clinician care for patients.

Areas of cancer research include:

  • Prevention – actions taken to reduce and lower the risks associated with getting cancer. Includes research into environmental, lifestyle, medicines and substances, and vaccines that can have both a positive and negative impact on your likelihood of developing cancer.
  • Detection – improving the modes and methods for discovery of different cancer types. This is focused on the detection of cancer cells at the earliest possible point, which is when the disease is easiest to treat.
  • Treatment  – developing new and improving existing cancer treatment methods (across all types of therapies), with a focus on higher efficacy and reduction of side-effects or negative impacts.
  • Survivorship  – cancer survivorship looks at the overall health and wellbeing of people living with and beyond cancer. Survivorship research covers factors from the moment of diagnosis through treatment and life beyond treatment. This could include management of chronic illness, end-of-life care, and follow-up care.

Research with the aim of developing new and improved cancer therapies would start with researchers exploring why a body’s natural system is not able to prevent the growth of cancerous cells. Our bodies all have an inbuilt defence mechanism that repairs damage to our cell DNA or forces the cell to die, if the damage is too great. Researchers work to discover what function within an individual cell’s DNA is under or overachieving to allow cancer cells to form, grow and multiply.

Once the why is understood, researchers look for ways to rectify these failures of the body’s defence system. This is not an easy task as there are many variables. While healthy cells replicate themselves exactly, each division of a cancer cell brings about new changes. This means that a treatment may not work on all cells within the same cancer.

However, cancer researchers are committed, they are creative, they are patient and they are resilient, and breakthroughs are made. These breakthroughs often lead to potential treatments.

Once a potential treatment has been developed a clinical trial is performed with the help of people with cancer, who volunteer to trial the new treatment.

If the clinical trial results prove that the new treatment is safe and effective, it may become part of the standard treatment regime for people with cancer.

6 ways to help cancer research

  1. Donate to cancer research: If a tax deductible, simple giving option is the best option for you to help cancer research, you can donate here.
  2. Participate in a sports event: Local marathons and community fun runs are not only a great way to get fit, but they provide supporters with a challenge through which they can raise funds for breakthrough cancer research. This year, with many running events cancelled due to COVID-19, we are asking that as cancer researchers continue working to improve the lives of Australians impacted by cancer, that you continue to run in support. If your favourite event has been cancelled, we would love for you to RUN REGARDLESS any time from 1 July to 31 October 2021.
  3. Shave or colour for cancer research: Do something brave. Stand in solidarity with those diagnosed with this devastating disease and shave, cut or colour for research into all types of cancer.
  4. Host a Cuppa for Cancer event: If you’re looking for a great way to combine a gathering of friends or colleagues with cancer awareness and fundraising, then hosting a Cuppa for Cancer could be just what you’re after.
  5. Create your own event: Bring your creative event ideas to life and help ACRF Outsmart Cancer – all cancers – for all Australians. The choice is yours whether you’re organising a backyard BBQ or a special event, hosting a DIY fundraiser is the perfect way to raise vital funds for improved prevention, earlier detection and more effective treatments for all types of cancer.
  6. Check out our A-Z list of fundraising ideas: If you are ready to get involved in a fundraising event, but you’re not exactly sure how you’d like to go about doing so, check out our A-Z list of charity fundraising ideas that will inspire you to put the ‘fun’ in ‘charity fundraising’.

How can I donate to cancer research?

There are many ways that you can donate to charity to help put an end to cancer. Many of our supporters choose to host events, or take on challenging feats – but for others, a simple giving option works best.

To learn more about the ways you can get involved with ACRF go to acrf.com.au/get-involved.

ACRF’s contributions to cancer research

Since 1984, thanks to our generous supporters, we’ve awarded 78 grants totalling over $165 million to 42 research institutions who have developed some of the most incredible and ground-breaking advancements in cancer research and treatment including:

  • Cervical Cancer Vaccine: ACRF supporters enabled the seed funding for Professor Ian Frazer’s development of a cervical cancer vaccine. Thanks to a national immunisation program, Australia is set to be the first country to effectively eliminate the disease.
  • The Pill That Melts Cancer: ACRF supporters enabled landmark research resulting in the discovery of the potent anti-cancer drug, Venetoclax.
  • Personalised Cancer Treatment: ACRF supporters enabled an ambitious project that aims to provide each cancer patient a personalized treatment plan within 36 hours of diagnosis.
  • Zero Childhood Cancer: Thanks to ACRF supporters, we became one of the founding partners of an initiative to tackle the most difficult cases of infant, childhood and adolescent cancer in Australia. Clinical trials are currently underway nationally and results are looking positive.

Donate to ACRF and help fund ground-breaking cancer research

At ACRF, our mission is to reach a world without cancer. All donations go towards helping cancer researchers improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all types of cancer. 

If you would like to make a donation, the giving options are listed below:

  • Become a regular giver: Regular giving is one of the most powerful ways you can support cancer research. Monthly donations help ACRF plan for the future and make more significant long-term impacts for people diagnosed with cancer.
  • Make a general donation: Together we unite with a shared vision of a future where the next generation will no longer experience the pain and heartache of cancer.
  • Donate in memory: Donating in memory of a loved one is a valuable way to celebrate their life while contributing to cancer research. We can support you to arrange charity donations at the funeral, or to make private memorial donations.
  • Donate in celebration: Donate to charity in celebration of a birthday, wedding or other occasion. By giving a gift to cancer research in lieu of traditional presents, you will be adding something special to an already momentous occasion.

Because of the generosity of people like you, we’ve helped the discovery and creation of large machines and small vaccines. Discoveries that help doctors diagnose cancer quickly and personalise treatments making them more effective.

At ACRF, we believe that together we can reach a world without cancer.