Despite good overall cancer outcomes in Australia, variations in outcomes exist by location, population group and tumour type. Cancer mortality rates are higher for people living in rural and regional areas compared to those in major cities and cancer survival is lower. Under COAG’s National Cancer Expert Reference Group, National Cancer Workplan, Cancer Australia undertook two initiatives - Profiling of Regional Cancer Services and Best Practice Cancer Care initiatives to map and identify opportunities to enhance best practice cancer care in regional areas.
To identify opportunities to enhance best practice cancer care in regional areas and address disparities in cancer outcomes for people living in regional Australia.
In collaboration with all states and territories, Cancer Australia mapped the status of 34 regional cancer services, by services provided and referral pathways, for six common and seven complex/high-risk cancers at a point in time and compared this data against national cancer clinical service capability frameworks. These findings were further analysed alongside nationally endorsed Optimal Care Pathways to identify opportunities for enabling best practice cancer care in regional Australia.
Cancer Australia is working with states and territories across Australia to enhance best practice cancer care aligned to the principles of optimal care pathways including patient-centred care, safe quality care, multidisciplinary care, supportive care, care coordination, communication and research and clinical trials. A national forum will be held to improve outcomes for people affected by cancer in regional Australia by strengthening best practice care through shared learning across jurisdictions and services.
Enhancing best practice cancer care in regional Australia to support access to cancer care at the right time, in the right place, with the right expertise and capability, will support improving outcomes for regional Australian’s affected by cancer.