Peter Mac News

New guides to reduce avoidable deaths from blood cancer

22 May 2024

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Australia’s Blood Cancer Taskforce has today released five new “optimal care pathways” (OCPs) aimed at improving treatment consistency and reducing avoidable deaths from blood cancer.

The OCPs summarise latest expert advice on the cause, prevention, detection and optimal treatment of specific cancer subtypes, and provide guides for both healthcare professionals and patients.

The Blood Cancer Taskforce is co-chaired by Professor John Seymour, who is Director of Clinical Haematology at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Royal Melbourne Hospital.

“We know that twenty-nine per cent of blood cancer deaths in this country could be avoided through the consistent delivery of the known national standards of timely and accurate diagnosis, optimal treatment, and care, and that’s significant,” says Prof Seymour.

“Australia has a world class health system and these new OCPs, along with the existing eight will ensure we now have Australian-specific standard frameworks for diagnosis, treatment, and care.”

The new OCPs cover 1. acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, 2. AL-amyloidosis, 3. cutaneious T-cell lymphoma, 4. myeloproliferative neoplasms and 5. Waldenström’s macroglobulinaemia.

A further eight blood cancer OCPs, covering different subtypes, have been produced by the Taskforce or Cancer Council since 2021. All are available on the Optimal Care Pathways website.

Around 140,000 Australians are currently living with blood cancer, and the Taskforce’s stated mission is to achieve zero lives lost to blood cancer by 2035.