Skip to main content

POSTPONED | Learn@Lunch with Professor Ian Jacobs


Learn@Lunch with Professor Ian Jacobs, scheduled for Thursday 9 April, will be postponed to a later date. Please register your interest for this event as we continue to explore an alternative date, and to ensure you receive further information in due course.

As part of UNSW’s response to COVID-19, UNSW Philanthropy has made the decision to cancel, postpone, or find alternative modes of delivery for all face-to-face events in the coming months. Ensuring the health and wellbeing of our valued UNSW community, and the public at large, is our highest priority.

Please note that you are encouraged to still register your interest for the Learn@Lunch with Professor Ian Jacobs, as we continue to explore an alternative date. We will provide an update to all interested delegates with further information in due course.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and ask for your patience as UNSW announces further developments in its response

In the meantime, we encourage you to listen to the many podcasts from past Learn@Lunch events.

If you have any concerns or questions about these measures, or UNSW’s continued response to COVID-19, please visit the University’s FAQs page or feel free to get in touch with us.

Cancers of the cervix and ovary: the extraordinary story and the human tragedy of screening and prevention&

In 2020 cancer of the cervix is an entirely preventable disease. That is an extraordinary tale of human achievement from the development of the Pap smear, to understanding the pre-cancerous steps in development of the cancer, introducing national screening programmes, discovering the cause (Human Papillomavirus), finding tests to detect the virus and then an effective vaccine. Australia has played a key role in many of the developments which have required exemplary collaboration been scientists, health experts, public health systems, industry, government and international organizations.  Tragically, despite these achievements over 500,000 women worldwide each year still suffer and most die from this entirely preventable cancer.

The challenge with ovarian cancer is very different. There is no clear pre-cancerous phase which can be detected. Of all women’s cancers, ovarian cancer has the lowest survival rate. Five-year ovarian cancer survival rates vary around the world, ranging from 30% to 45%. By comparison, five-year survival rates for women with breast cancer are upwards of 80%. The main reason for the poor prognosis is that symptoms do not generally appear until the disease is well progressed. There is hope that current efforts to screen for ovarian cancer will change the bleak outlook

At our next Learn@Lunch presentation, Professor Ian Jacobs, President and Vice-Chancellor of UNSW, former women’s cancer surgeon and world-renowned ovarian cancer researcher, will share his insights into screening and prevention of cancers of the cervix and ovary. He will talk about his own 30 years of research devoted to early detection of ovarian cancer and his hopes for its final findings. His talk will also cover his women’s initiative in Uganda where poverty and the aftermath of civil war had relegated women’s health to the bottom of the list of priorities, allowing the preventable cancer of the cervix to take the lives of too many women.