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 2013–2016.
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.
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.
- 16 February
- 21 June
- 23 November
For membership queries, email [email protected]
The ACSC supports professional development and learning opportunities for healthcare professionals who provide care to cancer survivors.
The ACSC supports survivorship research in partnership with a range of collaborators.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Evans J, Piper A, Simkiss L, Whitfield K, Jefford M. A clinical placement program for primary care professionals at a comprehensive cancer centre. Australian Family Physician (accepted April 6 2016)
- Nolte, Linda, et al. The Impact of Survivorship Care Planning on Patients, General Practitioners, and Hospital-Based Staff. Cancer Nursing (2016).
- O’Callaghan, Clare, et al. "I might not have cancer if you didn’t mention it”: a qualitative study on information needed by culturally diverse cancer survivors. Supportive Care in Cancer 24.1 (2016): 409-418.
- Jefford, Michael, et al. Implementing novel models of post treatment care for cancer survivors: Enablers, challenges and recommendations. Asia‐Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology 11.4 (2015): 319-327.
- Jefford M, Mann GM, Nolte L, Russell L, Brennan M. Follow up of women with early stage breast
cancer. Curr Breast Cancer Rep 2014; 6: 183–192.
- Jefford M, Rowland J, Grunfeld E, Richards M, Maher J, Glaser A. Implementing improved post-treatment care for cancer survivors in England, with reflections from Australia, Canada and the USA. Br J Cancer 2013; 108(1): 14-20. doi:
10.1038/bjc.2012.554. Epub 2012 Dec 20.
- Jefford M. Overview: improving outcomes for cancer survivors in Australia. Cancer Forum 2009; 33(3): 159-163
- Lotfi-Jam K, Schofield P, Jefford M. What constitutes ideal survivorship care? Cancer Forum 2009; 33(3):171-174
- Brennan M, Jefford M. General practitioner-based models of post-treatment follow up. Cancer Forum 2009; 33(3): 179-182
- 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).