Cancer treatment and services

People with cancer in Australia achieve some of the best cancer outcomes in
the world.[5] However, treatments can change rapidly as new research becomes available.

Cancer treatment and services

Health professionals need the latest evidence, research and information on treatments to ensure the best outcomes for their patients.

Several aspects of cancer treatment are regularly reviewed and reported. Some measures relate to where complex surgery for certain cancers is being performed. Others look at radiotherapy.

There are also measures that indicate the experiences of patients undergoing treatment, including their psychological, emotional and general wellbeing.

Overall key findings:

  • It is recommended that hospitals treating people with complex cancers perform these surgeries regularly (i.e. perform a certain number of surgeries each year). This is known as a minimum suggested annual caseload. The proportion of cancer surgeries being performed at public hospitals that meet the minimum suggested annual caseload has increased in NSW for lung and gastric cancers.
  • From 2015 to 2018, the use of hypofractionated radiotherapy (a smaller number of fractions, each providing a higher dose of radiation. This means people need less visits to complete their course of radiotherapy) for early stage breast cancer varied widely across public facilities, ranging from 29% to 97% in the reported NSW public cancer centres providing radiotherapy.
  • From 2015 to 2018, the use of single fraction radiotherapy for bone metastases varied widely across the reported NSW public cancer centres, ranging from 20% to 54%.
  • In 2018, about one-third (31%) of people having cancer treatment as an outpatient in NSW public hospital cancer clinics indicated they felt anxiety at a moderate or high level. Similarly, 28% of people felt depression at a moderate or high level.