About the Project


The Forgotten Cancers Project investigates the causes of less common cancers, which includes all cancers other than breast, lung, colorectal, melanoma and prostate cancer. Less common cancers occur less frequently within the population however they tend to have higher mortality rates, with some 5-year cancer survival rates as low as 7-30%. Despite these poor survivial outcomes there has to date been a lack of research into these cancers and relatively little is known about them.

By studying the roles of genes, lifestyle and early life environment the Forgotten Cancers Project is seeking to understand why people develop less common cancers and to be in a better position to improve the prevention and treatment of these diseases in the future.

The Project is run by Cancer Council Victoria as part of a consortium including hospitals, universities and research institutions both in Australia and overseas. Project participants were asked to complete a series of questionnaires, including questions about their family history, residential history, health, lifestyle, and diet, as well as a saliva sample. Recruitment for the study ran over a period of 5 years, from August 2011 to December 2016. The chief investigator is Associate Professor Roger Milne, Director of the Cancer Epidemiology and Intelligence Division at Cancer Council Victoria. 

The conduct of the Forgotten Cancers Project has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of Cancer Council Victoria.


The Forgotten Cancers Project Team

Assoc. Prof Roger Milne BCom, BSW, BA, Grad Dip Clinical Epi, MSc, PhD, Director, Cancer Epidemiology and Intelligence Division 

Roger is an epidemiologist with 15 years’ experience in the analysis of genetic and lifestyle data from observational studies. He first worked as a researcher at the Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, The University of Melbourne and later in the Human Genetics Programme at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) in Madrid. He has a broad working knowledge of issues relevant to the management and analysis of large-scale genetic and epigenetic studies and expertise in the application of appropriate statistical techniques.



Prof. Graham Giles BSc, MSc, PhD, Head of Research, Cancer Epidemiology and Intelligence Division Prof. Graham Giles

After post-doctoral work on the epidemiology of leukaemia and lymphoma in Tasmania, Graham Giles joined Cancer Council in 1983 as Director of the Victorian Cancer Registry. In 1986, he was appointed Director of Cancer Epidemiology Centre, and in 2001 became Deputy Director of the Cancer Control Research Institute. He has honorary professorial appointments at Melbourne, Monash and Deakin Universities, and serves on several national and international committees including the Scientific Council of the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyons, France.


  Fiona Bruinsma
Fiona Bruinsma, BBSc, Grad Dip App Psych, MA App Sc (Epidemiology), Dr Pub Health, Research Coordinator 

Dr Fiona Bruinsma has worked in cancer and reproductive epidemiology for over 15 years. She completed a Doctorate of Public Health in 2010; the topic of her thesis was ‘Pregnancy outcomes following treatment for cervical dysplasia'. Since joining us in early 2011 she's been involved in coordinating studies investigating lifestyle and genetic risk factors for prostate cancer, kidney cancer and multiple myeloma.



Laura Goddard, BN, MIR, MPH, Project Manager 

Laura joined Cancer Council Victoria in 2013 as a data manager for the Victorian Cancer Registry's Recruitment Team. In early 2016 she moved to the Cancer Epidemiology Centre as a Project Officer for the ABC Study and in September took on the position of Forgotten Cancers Project Manager. This role complements her interest in epidemiology and her postgraduate studies in public health at The University of Melbourne.