McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer turns five

The McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer has celebrated its fifth birthday on World Cancer Day, February 4.

The only centre of its kind in the world, it was established by Cancer Council Victoria and the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to make an impact on cancer globally by using the law.

Five years on, and director Jonathan Liberman is immensely proud of what the Centre has achieved.

“We have built a unique and highly successful international legal training program through which we have trained over 250 government, intergovernmental organisation and non-government representatives and academic experts from over 75 countries in using law to prevent cancer and support those affected by it,” he said.

The Centre has supported a number of governments around the world to develop strong tobacco control laws and defend them against tobacco industry lawsuits, all the while cementing and expanding its expertise and impact in key domestic and international cancer control issues—food policy, end-of-life care, health services regulation and access to medicines.

 “When I reflect on all that we have accomplished, it strikes me that our most rewarding achievements are, at their heart, about making connections; across cultures and countries; across sectors; across disciplines; and from theory and learning to practice,”

“We couldn’t have achieved this without our many fantastic partners and collaborators. A special acknowledgment to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for its generous support for our international legal training program,” Mr Liberman said.

Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper has seen the benefit of the Centre’s work both internationally and locally, saying it has contributed to a wide range of law reform activities in Victoria.

“The work of the Centre has been instrumental in working with government to protect people with cancer against exploitation by providers of unregulated and unproven ‘treatments’, and laws to support people to plan for their end-of-life care and ensure that their wishes are respected,” he said.

“While these issues may not spring to mind when thinking about cancer control, they help to improve the lives of those diagnosed with cancer, and ensure patients are given every opportunity to make decisions about their treatment and care.”

UICC CEO Cary Adams agrees, believing that the effective use of law is instrumental if we are to succeed in reducing the impact of cancer on our communities in the long-term.

“Great steps have also been made to achieve greater cooperation and coordination of the many legal issues that are common to cancer organisations globally. We look forward to seeing this collaborative network of cancer organisations grow over the coming years to ensure the McCabe Centre furthers its reach and impact around the world.”

The theme of this year’s World Cancer Day is ‘We can. I can.’ If you’re not already involved, it’s not too late – go to

Last update: 
Monday 20 February 2017