Australia's first comprehensive treatment and research centre for the growing number of cancer survivors has been launched today at NSW Parliament House.

The new NSW Cancer Survivors Centre at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) is dedicated to improving the health of the rapidly growing number of Australian cancer survivors, now estimated to be around one million, whose needs are not being met by existing services.

The Centre has been established by a consortium of leading clinical and research groups affiliated with UNSW, and will be funded with the help of Ride for Life, an annual cycling event founded by Mr Rick Christie, himself a cancer survivor.

The new Centre's director, Professor Andrew Lloyd, said: "Cancer survivors experience a range of physical, psychological and lifestyle problems as a consequence of both cancer diagnosis and treatment. Many of these challenges are not adequately addressed by current cancer services."

"The Cancer Survivor Centre is the first of its kind in Australia and is also one of very few worldwide to focus on both survivors of childhood and adult cancers," he said.

Adult and Paediatric Program Directors, Conjoint Professors David Goldstein and Richard Cohn, said the centre plans to collaborate with a number of UNSW-affiliated teaching hospitals. It will facilitate care by a range of medical and health professionals for the after-effects of cancer, including post-cancer fatigue, fertility issues, osteoporosis, premature heart disease and diabetes, mental health issues and second malignancies, amongst others.

Professor Lloyd said the centre would be aligned with UNSW's aspiration to be "a leading research intensive university, focusing on contemporary and social issues".

The centre will work together with the Lifestyle Clinic at UNSW, which provides physical activity and lifestyle programs for the prevention and management of chronic disease, in collaboration with UNSW's extensive network of medical and health researchers and clinicians.

The UNSW Lifestyle Clinic played a significant role in the recovery of Ride for Life Founder Rick Christie, who had struggled for many years to regain his strength following cancer treatment.

Prior to attending the Clinic, Mr Christie had already established the annual Ride for Life fund-raising event in support of developing further survivorship resources.

Mr Christie said, "We are delighted that Ride for Life and University of New South Wales have joined forces to establish the NSW Cancer Survivors Centre to assist cancer patients to complete recovery and improved long term health".

The 2011 Ride for Life cycling event takes place in Centennial Park on Sunday 31 July, and has previously raised in excess of $300,000 for cancer services.

Director Medical Oncology, Prince of Wales Hospital, Conjoint Professor Michael Friedlander, said, "The Centre is a real leap forward for cancer survivors, in particular with plans to develop and evaluate a new model of care for this group who often miss out in current services."

In Australia, cancer incidence continues to increase, with an estimated 115,000 new diagnoses this year and a 27 percent increase overall. Survival prospects have also increased significantly due to better diagnostic methods, earlier detection and improvements in treatment.

More than three-quarters of children and 60 percent of adults with cancer will be long-term survivors.

Media contact: Steve Offner, UNSW Media Office, 9385 8107, 0424 580 208