Program of work

Ongoing activities, current projects and completed projects

The Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre – A Richard Pratt legacy (ACSC) program of work is guided by our Strategic Plan 2017/18 – 2019/20.

Ongoing activities

Supporting survivors

We are creating a network of resources to support Australian cancer survivors.

Survivorship care plans at Peter Mac

Survivorship care plans (SCPs) have been widely endorsed as a communication tool between the treating team, the patient and their GP. They generally comprise a treatment summary, follow-up plan and health promotion information.

SCPs are routinely provided by the Late Effects service at Peter Mac. In 2011 Peter Mac began a pilot project to spread the delivery of SCPs into other clinical services. In 2013 the ACSC evaluated the impact of the project. Recommendations from the evaluation included creating systems to deliver post-treatment support and improved care coordination, as well as embedding SCP initiatives into usual care.

In 2016 the ACSC focused on developing sustainable approaches to delivering SCPs. The ACSC is piloting an electronic treatment summary and developing a consistent and systematic approach to identifying survivors for targeted information and support. We also undertook a survey to explore preferences of cancer survivors towards the format and content of an SCP and how they might use an SCP.

While similar to international findings, results suggest alternate ways of providing the information that survivor’s desire. A flexible approach to SCP interventions is warranted, and involving consumers in the development and review of SCPs is supported. Impressing the value of sharing SCPs with GPs is also recommended. Key recommendations for clinical services regarding implementation of SCP initiatives have been formulated.

Evaluation of the implementation of survivorship care plans at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (May 2014)

Supporting collaboration

The Victorian Cancer Survivorship Program (VCSP) is an initiative of the Department of Health and Human Services. The ACSC delivers the VCSP Survivorship Community of Practice in partnership with the department.

The VCSP Survivorship Community of Practice provides a forum for people who share a passion for cancer survivorship. Through regular events and an online collaborative workspace, the Community of Practice shares evidence-based resources and findings, and promotes partnerships to develop sustainable service design.

2017 dates:

  • 16 February
  • 21 June
  • 23 November

For membership queries, email [email protected]

Survivorship education

The ACSC supports professional development and learning opportunities for healthcare professionals who provide care to cancer survivors.

Survivorship research

The ACSC supports survivorship research in partnership with a range of collaborators.

Current projects

Cancer Survivorship in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Communities

The ACSC has successfully completed two Cancer Australia funded projects delivering consumer informed and culturally appropriate written resources for cancer survivors and their carer’s in Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Greek, Italian and Vietnamese. The ACSC has received funding to continue this work in 2016 and beyond through the Cancer Australia Supporting People with Cancer grant initiative.

General Practice Placement in Cancer Survivorship

General practice coordinates and provides holistic care to cancer survivors. The Department of Health and Human Services has provided funding for the ACSC to deliver the General Practice Placement in Cancer Survivorship project at Peter Mac and three collaborating sites. Places are open for general practice and general practice nurses.

Completed projects

General Practice Placement Pilot

General practice coordinates and provides holistic care to cancer survivors. In 2015 the Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre, with support from the Department of Health and Human Services, implemented the General Practice Clinical Placement Pilot Program at Peter Mac. The program aimed to understand barriers and enablers to shared care between specialty (acute) and general practice (primary care).

The program brought together general practice and hospital-based oncology teams for a total of 10 hours. The pilot was expanded in 2016 including an additional three sites later this year.

The 2015 program evaluation found that the program was feasible and highly regarded. General practice participants reported that the program provided them with confidence in incorporating survivorship care into current chronic disease management protocols. Oncology specialists valued the opportunity to provide a clinical learning environment and expressed support for further collaboration to build shared care practices.

General practice clinical placement pilot Program: final report 2015

Cancer Survivorship in CALD communities

The ACSC has successfully completed two Cancer Australia funded projects delivering consumer-informed and culturally appropriate written resources for cancer survivors and their carer’s in Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Greek, Italian and Vietnamese.

The final report for project two will be available shortly.

Resources for cancer survivors from culturally and linguistically diverse communities final report (June 2014)

Cancer Survivor Stories

Once treatment is over, cancer survivors cope with their new life in different ways. Many turn to other cancer survivors to learn first-hand about their experiences.

Our survivor stories have been developed by Meg Rynderman, consumer representative for the ACSC. Meg, a cancer survivor herself, has interviewed other survivors to gain perspectives from men, women, families and caregivers.

Complementary Therapies Survey

A cancer diagnosis can have a profound and stressful impact. Complementary therapies may be accessed by patients to help them cope. In 2014 the ACSC surveyed Peter Mac patients to understand patient and carer uptake and associated preferences for complementary and alternative therapy use. The survey revealed that 46 per cent of participants were using some form of complementary therapy (self-report) and 79 per cent of participants agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: Complementary therapies should be provided in cancer centres.

Peter Mac provides a program of wellbeing services to support patients.

Volunteer information and support training

To expand the support offered within the Australian Cancer Survivorship and Information Centre, the ACSC partnered with Cancer Council Victoria to develop a training program for volunteers. The program is co- facilitated by health professionals within Cancer Council and staff providing supervision of volunteers who provide information and support to patients.

Reports and publications

The ACSC has published the following articles and reports:

Articles:

Book Chapter:

  • Malin J, Sayers EJ, Jefford M, What is quality health care for cancer survivors? in Quality Health Care for Cancer Survivors edited by Feuerstein M, Ganz PA. (Springer, 2011).
    Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre - A Richard Pratt Legacy