Claiming the lives of 3,980 Australians each year, bowel cancer is Australia’s second leading cause of cancer deaths.

To help combat bowel cancer, national charity, Bowel Cancer Australia has pledged AUD$5.9 million towards establishing a professional Chair in bowel cancer research at the University of Sydney.

In addition to Bowel Cancer Australia’s donation, external sources are contributing another $3 million to advance research into bowel cancer.

Bowel cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia, with more than 151,151 Australians diagnosed each year.

Coined after one of Australia’s oldest bowel cancer survivors, the chair will be named the Lawrence Penn Chair in Bowel Cancer Research, and will be located at the University’s Northern Clinical School Campus.

Bowel Cancer Australia, CEO, Julien Wiggins says bowel cancer is one of the most curable types of cancer if detected early, however fewer than 40 per cent of bowel cancers are found early.

“Screening can help with early detection but won’t eliminate bowel cancer. Research is the only way to discover a cure,” Mr Wiggins said.

According to Bowel Cancer Australia Chairman, Brian McFadyen, the establishment of the Chair “was the result of years of effort by the Bowel Cancer Australia Board.”

Welcoming the research funding boost, Dean of the University of Sydney Medical School, Professor Bruce Robinson says the contribution to research has come at a time when Government funding for medical research is under review.

“In times when research funding is difficult to secure, we rely more than ever on funds from community groups and individuals to undertake research to prevent and treat bowel cancer.”

As part of the Chair’s establishment, the University of Sydney is currently working to identify a world-class research leader to oversee its research projects.

To learn more about bowel cancer and ongoing research into the disease, visit Bowel Cancer Australia.