Delivering Better Cancer Care

National standards to improve cancer care

Cancer affects hundreds of thousands of Australian families at any given time: 100,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed, and around 40,000 people die from various forms of this disease every year.

Page last updated: 07 April 2010

In addition to these investments in cancer care infrastructure, in order to provide national consistency in the access and delivery of quality patient care, the Commonwealth is committed to establishing nationally agreed and consistent best practice cancer protocols and pathways of care to be followed by all health providers, public and private.

This forms part of our broader commitment, through the National Health and Hospitals Network, to introduce national standards and reporting in the health system to ensure consistent, high quality care across the country.

In order to achieve this in cancer care:

  • over time, the Government will work with the States and Territories to improve the cancer patient journey and reduce delays in initial diagnosis and treatment;
  • this will include the development and implementation of agreed referral protocols and clinical pathways of care – from primary care to regional cancer centres, or onward referral to highly specialised services including Integrated Cancer Centres.

For cancer patients, particularly those living in rural, regional and remote areas, better integrated and well coordinated cancer services will result in more cancers being prevented, earlier detection of cancer, and improved survival rates. Patients will get better information about their disease in a timely way with an improved quality of life.

Preventing cancer

As noted above, the largest preventable cause of cancer is tobacco consumption. The Commonwealth Government is investing heavily in promoting programs and interventions to reduce preventable chronic disease, including cancer. These initiatives include:
  • $872.1 million through the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health, which includes:
    • $692 million for interventions in preschools, schools, workplaces and communities to support physical activity, improved diets and healthy weight;
    • $61 million for public awareness campaigns encouraging Australians to quit smoking; and
    • $59 million to expand and extend the MeasureUp campaign to continue raising awareness of the risks associated with unhealthy weight, physical inactivity and poor diet – which can lead to bowel cancer.
  • Additional funding for tobacco control programs, which includes;
    • $15 million to reinvigorate the National Tobacco Strategy;
    • $100 million for a regional tobacco workforce and local health promotion programs to help reduce smoking rates in Indigenous communities under the COAG Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health National Partnership; and
    • $14.5 million for the Indigenous Tobacco Control Initiative, which is trialling innovative approaches to smoking prevention and cessation in Indigenous communities, to inform the COAG measure.

Other cancer investments

Since 2007 the Government has made a range of important investments in cancer care:
  • $600 million has been invested over the next five years to ensure that people with cancer can get the medicines they need. This includes $314.1 million for the bowel cancer drug Avastin in the 2009–10 Budget.
  • $120 million has been committed to replace BreastScreen Australia’s analogue mammography equipment with state-of-the-art digital mammography equipment used for screening women for breast cancer.
  • $87.4 million to continue and expand the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.
  • $31 million in financial support for women who require breast prostheses as a result of breast cancer.
  • $12 million to the McGrath Foundation to recruit, train and employ breast care nurses for a period of four years, all of which are now on line.
  • $15 million for a children’s cancer centre in Adelaide.
  • $15 million to CanTeen for the establishment of Youth Cancer Networks across Australia.
  • $15 million to set up two dedicated prostate cancer research centres in Melbourne and Brisbane.
  • $15 million for the Oliva Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne.

Long Description: Current journey for the Rural Cancer patient (TXT 3 KB)

Current Journey for the Rural Cancer Patient

Ideal Hourney for the Rural Cancer Patient