Skip to main content


Farewell from Dr Helen Zorbas AO

I will be stepping down as CEO of Cancer Australia on 2 July 2019.

Cancer Australia was established to provide national leadership to minimise the impact of cancer, address disparities and improve outcomes for people affected by cancer – a disease which touches us all. 

I have had the privilege since 2011 of leading an agency which has made meaningful improvements to the lives of people affected by cancer, by harnessing expertise and building effective partnerships and a collaborative model that fosters engagement across the health system.

A hallmark of our collaborative efforts has been the generosity with which the cancer community has worked together with Cancer Australia, and as I prepare to step down from this most rewarding of roles, I would like to acknowledge the many collective and individual efforts around our shared agenda and purpose.

Working with cancer foundations and philanthropic organisations, researchers and clinical trials groups, health professionals and clinical colleges, cancer and consumer advocacy organisations, policy makers, colleagues in the Ministries and department of health and our sister health agencies, people of influence and high public profile, and individuals affected by cancer, we have delivered impactful gains which would not otherwise have been possible.

Importantly the person with cancer remains at the centre of our efforts... and we are constantly humbled by the courage of individuals who generously share their cancer experience to guide and inform our work.

I feel privileged to have known and worked with so many extraordinary organisations and individuals whose passion and commitment has constantly inspired and challenged me.

I take enormous pride, a pride shared with the Cancer Australia staff, in the achievements of the agency, in particular those flagship projects where Cancer Australia has broken new ground and led the way. While there is much to celebrate, there is so much more to be done, in this most exciting and promising of times in cancer control.

I leave a strong and resilient agency, highly valued by the Australian community, that will continue to grow in strength and stature, taking new directions and responding to the challenges of the time. I wish my successor Professor Dorothy Keefe, supported by the Cancer Australia Advisory Council and Chair Professor Bob Thomas OAM, every success.


[Pictured: Professor Bob Thomas OAM, Adjunct Associate Professor Christine Giles, Sir Peter Cosgrove AK, MC, Lady Lynne Cosgrove, Dr Helen Zorbas AO, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC, Governor of NSW, Mr Dennis Wilson, Associate Professor David Gillett]