Peter Mac’s Chief Medical Officer Dr David Speakman and Director of Prevention and Wellbeing Geri McDonald joined the Hon. Ged Kearney MP, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, at Parliament House in Canberra last Thursday for the official launch of the ‘Integrative Oncology and Wellness Centres in Cancer Care’ white paper.

This inaugural white paper provides a framework of recommendations to maximise the potential benefits that Integrative Oncology and Wellness Centres can provide for cancer patients.

It was developed on behalf of Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Solaris Cancer Care Foundation, Bloomhill Cancer Centre, and NICM Health Research Institute at Western Sydney University with support from the Dry July Foundation.

Geri McDonald, Director Prevention & Wellbeing at Peter Mac said the Deakin University undertook an environmental scan to inform the white paper’s recommendations.

“The growth in the establishment of Wellness Centres across Australia provides an opportunity to focus on the social determinants of health and the issues that people with cancer face when managing their cancer experience,” Geri said.

“Wellness Centres provide a platform for the delivery of Integrative Oncology and wellbeing services. However, Integrative Oncology services can also be offered in the absence of a Wellness Centre.

“The establishment of an Integrative Oncology framework would enable Wellness Centres to achieve best practice evidence based Integrative Oncology and wellbeing services across Australia ensuring equity of access for all Australians,” she said.

The white paper outlined six strategic recommendations:

  1. Develop guidelines for Integrative Oncology in Australia
  2. Identify and gain consensus on the critical success factors
  3. Prioritise routine collection of data
  4. Establish funding strategy
  5. Establish referral pathway
  6.  Foster and progress a collaborative research program

Services such as acupuncture, massage, meditation, yoga, music therapy, exercise and nutrition are among recommendations for alleviating common symptoms such as fatigue, pain, nausea, hot flashes and sleep disorders.

The authors of the paper noted that cancer care in Australia is changing and evidence-based Integrative Oncology services are playing a more important role than ever before.

“This inaugural white paper validates the services and provides the strategic recommendations to guide this conversation and to enable the sector to consider a consistent and coordinated approach. Only by doing so will we be able to deliver the benefits of Integrative Oncology and Wellness Centres to more Australians affected by cancer,” they said.

A full copy of the white paper is available here.