This presentation will focus on Cancer Australia’s survivorship initiatives to date and future priorities.
Cancer Australia as the national cancer control agency recognises the importance of people affected by cancer being at the centre of our cancer control efforts. Collaboration across the health and cancer sectors is required to reduce the impact of cancer on those diagnosed and to improve outcomes for all Australians affected by cancer. Ensuring an all of systems approach to cancer control is key to supporting the wellbeing of those living with cancer before, during and after treatment and for survivors of cancer.
Cancer is estimated to be the leading cause of burden of disease in Australia, accounting for approximately 19% of the total disease burden in 2012. The number of people diagnosed with cancer in Australia is increasing and cancer death rates have fallen. Over the past 20 years and across all cancers, the five year survival rate of people diagnosed with cancer has continued to increase, with potential late effects of treatment, other co-morbidities and psychosocial impacts (including fear of recurrence). With this is mind, there is a need for a collaborative and strategic approach to support the increasing number of people affected by cancer now and in the future.
Initiatives relating to survivorship are integrated within Cancer Australia’s program of work, including: evidence based information and resources for consumers and health professionals in best practice cancer care, including updating the Clinical practice guidelines for the psychosocial care of adults with cancer; consumer involvement in all cancer control initiatives; on-line learning through Cancer Learning; in developing new models of care resulting in the acceptability and feasibility of shared follow-up care for early breast cancer between specialists and GPs; and funding of priority research initiatives in survivorship and supportive care.
Ensuring cancer sector collaboration with people affected by cancer is central in shaping survivorship strategies and building the evidence base to inform survivorship care in the Australian context.