UQ medical hero comes to the big screen

24 Aug 2021

A little more than twenty years ago, eliminating cervical cancer would have seemed an impossible dream, but now the achievable goal of halting the disease worldwide is the focus of a feature documentary film.

Conquering Cancer stars cervical cancer pioneer Professor Ian Frazer, who co-developed the life-saving Gardasil vaccine with UQ colleague, the late Dr Jian Zhou.

“The film spreads the message that cervical cancer is a curable disease which women around the world still suffer from,” Professor Frazer said.

“It’s been filmed to portray an accurate and honest point of view, but it’s also a platform to launch people into action.

“What can we do to save the lives of an estimated 62 million women around the world?”

The tagline to Conquering Cancer is ‘The fight to eliminate cervical cancer – everywhere’, and presents perspectives from Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe.

One of the most powerful voices belongs to Zambian Ministry of Health Assistant Director (Cancer) Dr Sharon Kapambwe.

“Conquering cancer means a world where women are empowered to do other things, not succumbing to a disease,” Dr Kapambwe said.

“They are able to give their full potential to their families and nation.”

Others in the film reflect on how hearing the words ‘cervical cancer’ previously formed an automatic equivalency with the word ‘death’ in their mind, but that no longer needs be the case.

Among the stories featured in Conquering Cancer is that of Australian woman Kirsty Browne, who was diagnosed with a rare form of cervical cancer at age 26.

She became one of the first Australian women to deliver a baby after having her cervix removed.

The Queensland premiere screening of Conquering Cancer will take place at Elizabeth Street Picture Theatre in Brisbane on Wednesday 1 September at 6.45pm.

limited number of tickets to the premiere are still available, with $5 from each ticket going to the Translational Research Institute (TRI) Foundation.

Professor Frazer is Ambassador and Chair to the TRI Foundation, as well as holding affiliations with UQ Faculty of Medicine, UQ Diamantina Institute and the Institute for Molecular Biosciences.

Professor Frazer is one of the executive producers of Conquering Cancer, which is directed by Mike Hill, hosted by Sue Collins and produced by Australian-based Moonshine Agency.

A preview trailer of the documentary is available on YouTube.

Image above: film crew shooting overlay with Professor Ian Frazer in a lab.

Media: Shelley Templeman, UQ Communications, s.templeman@uq.edu.au, 07 3443 8042.