Aim: To provide accessible, sustainable supportive care and practical support pathways for cancer survivors in NSW and beyond.
Method: Research shows that post-treatment interventions for cancer survivors should be available in several modalities. In response, Cancer Council NSW created a Cancer Survivorship Unit (CSU) to develop and deliver evidence-based support services for cancer survivors.
The CSU was created by utilising Cancer Council’s existing support infrastructure and network. The unit works collaboratively with internal and external stakeholders to create referral pathway linking services for cancer survivors and caregivers. Services are facilitated not only within the organisation but also on an external basis.
Results and Future Direction: Since April 2012, the CSU has addressed unmet survivor and caregiver needs by developing face-to-face programs and complementary downloadable or printed resources. Programs include Living Well After Cancer (psychosocial), ENRICH (exercise and nutrition routine improving cancer health), and Working Beyond Cancer (employee and workplace support). Other support services that the unit is cross referring with, include legal, financial and workplace (HR) advice through our pro bono team; peer support, and in development a return-to-work resource, and vocational counselling.
In addition, pilots are underway to develop support services for young adults aged 18-45. These include tailored Living Well after Cancer and ENRICH programs, art therapy and a young adults online group. Focus group outcomes from these pilot programs will guide support delivery from 2013.
Cancer Council NSW has an opportunity to further extend post-treatment support services by working in collaboration with allied health professionals, treatment or survivor centres and other cancer charities.