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Highly respected Clinical Haematologist at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Professor Chan Cheah, has been named Cancer Council WA’s 2023 Cancer Researcher of the Year for his outstanding contribution to cancer research.

Cancer Council WA CEO, Ashley Reid, said Professor Cheah’s work has had a huge impact on blood cancer research, with enormously improved access to clinical trials and cutting-edge therapeutics for West Australians.

“We are very excited to announce the Cancer Council WA Cancer Researcher of the Year for 2023 is Professor Chan Cheah”, Mr Reid said.

Mr Reid went on to say, “Professor Cheah is one of the most prominent lymphoma researchers internationally. In 2016, he founded Blood Cancer Research in WA to address an unmet need for patients across the state, and since then, more than 800 people with lymphoma and blood cancers have entered into clinical trials. An estimated 13,000 West Australians are diagnosed with cancer every year, which means every day, another 36 West Aussies will hear the words “you have cancer”.

“It is so encouraging to see passionate cancer researchers, such as Professor Cheah, striving to ensure the best possible outcomes for cancer patients and making such an important contribution to the global effort to defeat cancer”, says Mr Reid.

Professor Cheah, who was also awarded Cancer Council WA Early Career Cancer Researcher of the Year in 2018, said he was honoured to be named Cancer Council WA’s 2023 Cancer Researcher of the Year.

“I would like to thank Cancer Council WA for this incredible honour. More than one thousand West Australians are diagnosed with a blood cancer each year, and thousands more are living with the disease. While some are cured using chemotherapy, many are not. They need better treatments and clinical trials are the fastest way to deliver them. In five years we have created one of the most successful Haematology Clinical Research programs in the country, delivering cutting edge treatments to WA patients years before commercial availability”, Professor Cheah said.

Cancer Council WA recognised the achievements of WA’s best and brightest cancer researchers through presentation of the 2023 Cancer Council WA Research Excellence Awards on 8 September, 2023.

Mr Reid said the Research Excellence Awards were established in 2013 to recognise and celebrate the achievements of Western Australia’s finest cancer researchers.

“We have invested more than $2.4 million to support our cancer research program including funding for 83 cancer researchers across 30 projects. Funding for cancer research was awarded to four WA universities and involves six WA research institutes and four WA hospitals. Thanks to cancer research, 9 in 10 people will survive beyond five years for the most common cancers including breast, melanoma and prostate cancer, and the overall five-year survival rate for all cancers is around 70 per cent. Our research program’s robust, independent, peer-reviewed processes ensure that we direct funding to the most promising research conducted across a range of institutes and universities in WA”, he said.

“It is only through the generosity of the WA community that we can fund so many local cancer researchers to lead exciting and innovative research that has the potential to dramatically improve the way we prevent, detect and treat cancer. We congratulate our next generation of leading cancer researchers as we strive towards a cancer-free future”, said Mr Reid.