Cancer Survivorship

Cancer Survivorship

Victorians living in regional and remote locations commonly have a lower five-year cancer survival rate than their metropolitan counterparts. Residents of the Loddon-Mallee region have a 4% lower five-year cancer survival rate (65%) than those in Melbourne (69%) (Victorian Cancer Registry, Cancer Council Victoria 2015). However, data is currently lacking on cancer staging and treatment to assist with further analysis. This is anecdotally supported by health and community agencies across these regions who report lack of health service capacity and patient access as key barriers to achieving quality cancer survivorship care.

Murray PHN was successful for Phase II of the Victorian Cancer Survivorship Program Grants Scheme through the Victorian Cancer Survivorship Program (VCSP) which was established by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The cancer survivorship project began in 2016 with the establishment of working groups and the commencement of community and health service engagement. A number of local events and placement opportunities for general practice has been made available within oncology teams (click here to see current professional development opportunities).

Murray PHN hopes to improve shared care planning through the development and implementation of shared care and communication tools and protocols, and to embed the model of care in health services and general practices by mid 2019.

We are working with general practice, health services and the community in Campaspe, Buloke, Gannawarra and Swan Hill regions to achieve:

  • improved access to health and community services for cancer survivors
  • increased capacity of primary and community health agencies to support cancer survivors
  • creating and/or maintaining effective and sustainable agency partnerships

Pictured: Health professionals who came together in Swan Hill on 23 August 2018, to enhance their knowledge and skills for cancer survivorship care. One Practice Nurse commented, that the event provided great information for healthcare professionals in inspiring, motivating, empowering and supporting cancer patients "I would have loved to have heard more".

New support group | Gannawarra and Buloke

Are you a cancer survivor or do you support someone with cancer and live in the  Gannawarra or Buloke region? Murray PHN has established a cancer support group to provide a safe space for people affected by cancer. The group enables people to develop local connections, providing emotional and other supports including the sharing of resources, experiences and ideas.

The next support group meeting is on Thursday 13 June, 1.30pm at Northern District Community Health, 30 Fitzroy Street, Kerang.

For further information, contact Gemma Bilardi at Murray PHN by calling 03 4408 5610 or emailing gbilardi@murrayphn.org.au

Research project participation

As part of this project, we are conducting research. The research project is aiming to improve the experience of individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer and are undergoing treatment or have completed treatment. Additionally, we hope to improve the knowledge of health care providers and organisations who provide a service to a cancer survivor.

A cancer survivor is someone who has had or has a diagnosis of cancer and are undergoing treatment or follow-up care.

People who are newly diagnosed with cancer, and their carers who live in the towns of Boort, Pyramid Hill, Inglewood, Wedderburn, Korong Vale, Charlton, Wycheproof, Quambatook, Birchip, Donald,  Cohuna, Kerang, Swan Hill, Sea Lake, Rochester, Rushworth, Echuca or Kyabram can get involved by reading and then filling in the combined information and consent sheet online or on the form at the bottom of this page. Hard copies can be scanned and emailed to Gemma. Gemma is also happy to answer any questions or provide more information:

Gemma Bilardi, Murray PHN Cancer Survivorship Project Coordinator by emailing gbilardi@murrayphn.org.au or phoning 0476 830 927

Judith, a cancer survivor from Kyabram is participating in this research to help those people who are facing a similar situation. Her hope is to assist in closing any gaps in treatment for others where it has not been possible to have their treatment close to home and to improve facilities and services, that are required at such a critical time in people's lives.

Judith shared with Murray PHN, some of her concerns "I was usually not able to see the same doctor during the early days prior to being referred to Peter Mac and found this very unsettling as each time I went to the clinic I had to tell my story again. After returning from Peter Mac I was mostly able to see the same GP who I had begun to form a doctor/patient relationship with but several months into the journey he moved away. There doesn’t seem to be consistency in GP care which is so vitally important for patients with cancer and chronic illnesses."

Pamela, a carer from Swan Hill also highly recommends that others get involved in these types of research projects, as the outcomes will benefit future cancer survivors and their carers.

Patricia told Murray PHN that "I would love that all the medical people asked more questions about the persons full medical history, not just the area that they specialise in and treat. People often have more than one medical problem and the treatment for one condition may not be suitable for the other condition."


Resources

For cancer survivors and their carers

For health professionals

Dr Ewa Piejko, Murray PHN Medical Advisor and Kathryn Cunningham, Practice Nurse Golden City Medical

Dr Rob Blum, Medical Oncologist at Bendigo Health

Breanne Edwards, Occupational Therapist from Echuca Health

Alice Saver- Psychologist from Physical Mind Co. Bendigo

Cancer survivorship research participation consent form

  • I (name below) have been given an information sheet about a cancer survivorship research study located within the Loddon, Gannawarra, Buloke, Swan Hill and Campaspe regions. I hereby give permission for one of the researchers to contact me and discuss my participation in the study.
  • I hereby give permission for one of the researchers to contact me and discuss my participation in the study by the following methods
  • I understand that I am not obliged to participate in the study and may withdraw my interest at any time
  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY

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