General cancer news
February 2023 general cancer news
Close the Care Gap: World Cancer Day 2023
Saturday, 4 February marks World Cancer Day 2023, and the Cancer Institute NSW (the Institute) is joining the global effort around this year’s theme 'Close the Care Gap'. It is a reminder that cancer doesn’t impact everyone equally.
Within NSW, some people continue to be disproportionately affected by cancer including:
- Aboriginal people
- Multicultural communities
- Sexuality and gender diverse people
- Regional, rural and remote communities
The Institute is committed to equity of outcomes, person-centredness and collaboration with these three overriding principles guiding the direction of the NSW Cancer Plan 2022-2027 (PDF). Find further information on initiatives from the Institute which aim to close the care gap among Aboriginal people, multicultural communities and sexuality and gender diverse people.
Primary health care plays a vital role in closing the care gap and supporting equity of outcomes through prevention, screening and early detection of cancers, timely referral and assisting with the coordination of care.
The Primary Care Cancer Control Quality Improvement toolkit aims to support ways that cancer screening and prevention activities can be built into your practice or health service. Each module will guide you through the steps required to:
• Promote a patient-centred approach to increase participation in the national cancer screening programs and reduce risky lifestyle behaviours through preventative programs.
• Guide a team-based approach to quality improvement, utilising data and systems to increase participation in the national cancer screening programs and preventative programs to reduce cancer risk.
Stay up to date with the latest news and information to support primary care across the cancer continuum on our dedicated Primary care updates webpage.
Biennial screening mammography recommended for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women aged 40–74 years
BreastScreen NSW aims to reduce morbidity and mortality from breast cancer through early detection.
BreastScreen NSW is delivering a pilot, PUTUWA: The BreastScreen NSW Aboriginal women age project, and is now recommending that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women screen every two years from age 40–74.
Breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in Aboriginal women and the second most common cause of death. Aboriginal women are less likely to participate in routine breast screening than non-Aboriginal women and are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer at a higher rate than the overall NSW female population.
The project aims to increase participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in routine breast screening. A key element is communications targeting Aboriginal women aged 40–74 in NSW, the Aboriginal health workforce and GPs.
Your assistance to share this information with relevant networks is appreciated.
Note that the recommended screening age for non-Aboriginal women remains 50–74 years.
Thank you for your ongoing support of BreastScreen NSW. Please contact your local BreastScreen NSW service on 13 20 50 for more information.
2022 general cancer news
The Cancer Institute NSW is committed to improving cancer outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
The Cancer Institute NSW (the Institute) is focused on ongoing and innovative development of cancer control projects and has prioritised Aboriginal people in the NSW Cancer Plan 2022–2027.
Learn more below about our initiatives and what we are doing. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NSW Aboriginal Cancer Primary Care Pathways Program will be delivered over four years by the Institute in partnership with the AH&MRC. The program will establish 15 Aboriginal cancer care pathways positions in primary health to promote 715 health checks and support people to navigate the primary care cancer pathway.
BreastScreen NSW PUTUWA project
The PUTUWA project supports evidence that earlier engagement in BreastScreen NSW for Aboriginal women aged 40–49 is beneficial. A screening pilot will broaden the recommended BreastScreen NSW screening age range for Aboriginal women to 40–74 years old (currently 50–74 years) to increase biennial participation. Further updates to follow in 2023.
Bowel cancer screening
A National Alternative Pathway trial to the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) demonstrated efficacy and appropriateness to increase participation among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to access bowel cancer screening. The NBCSP has recently commenced rollout of the alternative access pathway enabling selected Primary Health Care Services to order and issue bowel screening kits to patients, with Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and Aboriginal Medical Services.
Access the alternative access to bowel screening kits guide >
Training for Aboriginal Health Workers to promote cervical screening
The Institute has appointed Family Planning NSW to train and educate up to 50 Aboriginal health workers/practitioners across local health districts to actively promote cervical screening to all Aboriginal women and people with a cervix. This will include the new self-collection option, which will help overcome the many barriers that Aboriginal women have identified.
New online cervical screening practical resource for the health workforce that work and support Aboriginal women
The Institute’s NSW Aboriginal Cervical Screening Network are developing a culturally responsive and practical resource to support the recruitment of Aboriginal women into regular cervical screening. The How to Increase Cervical Screening in Your Local Area Guide includes checklists for the health workforce in particular those working and supporting Aboriginal women to implement community-based activities, such as pop-up cervical screening clinics and yarning circles. There will be further updates to follow in 2023.
Aboriginal Quitline provides telephone-based smoking cessation counselling and advice from Aboriginal counsellors. An Aboriginal Quitline Coordinator leads the development and implementation of a community engagement strategy, and written resources (Quit Kits), tailored for Aboriginal communities, are available online or by request through Quitline.
Quitline number: 13 78 48.
Learn more about Aboriginal Quitline >
Partnership to support smoking cessation with nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)
The Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AH&MRC) has received funding from the Institute to support participating services to purchase NRT. The funding is also for smoking cessation interventions training, to share learnings to a tobacco interest group of member services, and for collating and disseminating resources.
Hospital-based cancer services: improving access and care for Aboriginal people with cancer
The Institute is supporting many new initiatives to support Aboriginal people with cancer, their families and communities to access cancer treatment services that are more culturally appropriate and support the whole of self to be well.
The Institute has launched a Coordination of Care for Aboriginal People with Cancer Project
Funding has been provided for Aboriginal health staff to support people with a cancer diagnosis to navigate services and improve cultural safety of cancer services. The project is currently being piloted in four NSW local health districts.
Culturally appropriate wellbeing measurement
What Matters 2 Adults (WM2A) is the first nationally relevant measure of wellbeing developed specifically by and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults. The Institute has partnered with the WM2A research team in Sydney University and Queensland University on the WM2A Implementation (WM2A-I) Research Project, which is working with a number of NSW local health districts to determine the most effective implementation strategy for the WM2A measure into routine care. The WM2A can be collected electronically, and the information will be used at point of care with patients to support care and referrals, and the many dimensions of a person’s wellness and health.
The NEW Primary Care Cancer Control Quality Improvement Toolkit
The Cancer Institute NSW has created an online easy-to-follow Primary Care Cancer Control Quality Improvement Toolkit for improving cancer screening rates and cancer prevention activities in your practice or health service.
The toolkit contains quality improvement modules focused on cancer screening and cancer prevention.
Each module will guide you through the steps required to:
- Promote a patient centred approach to increase participation in national cancer screening programs and reduce risky lifestyle behaviours through preventative programs.
- Guide a team-based approach to quality improvement, utilising data and systems to increase participation in national cancer screening programs and preventative programs to reduce cancer risk.
A range of practical resources are available to download, including quick reference guides for each module and templates for quality improvement planning and implementation in your practice.
Get access to the toolkit and resources >
For more information:
Contact Tracey Wills Vashishtha at email@example.com.
Non-small cell lung cancer incidence for Lung Cancer Awareness Month
Lung Cancer Awareness Month is observed annually in November and highlights the need for more research to be conducted to better understand the disease.
The Cancer Institute NSW has led a study population-based linkage study on country of birth and non-small cell lung cancer incidence, treatment, and outcomes in New South Wales, Australia.
People with a cancer diagnosis living in regional communities are at risk of not getting the treatment they require, due to the potentially prohibitive financial costs of travelling and being away from home
Country of birth (COB) was categorised as Australia, China (excluding Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan), Germany, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, New Zealand, the Philippines, United Kingdom, and Vietnam. The sociodemographic characteristics of incidence and outcomes observed in this NSW study of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) align with changing migration patterns, including the higher percentages of older and male cases from European countries in the earlier periods and higher percentages of younger cases from Southeast Asia, New Zealand, and the Middle East in more recent years.
View further findings relevent to primary care >
Symptoms of lung cancer
It is important to know the symptoms of lung cancer. Although lung cancer occurs mostly in people aged 60 and over, it can affect people of any age including those who have never smoked.
What are the symptoms?
- coughing up blood
- a new or changed cough that does not go away
- chest pain and/or shoulder pain or discomfort – the pain may be worse with coughing or deep breathing
- trouble breathing or shortness of breath
- hoarse voice
- weight loss
- loss of appetite
- chest infection that does not go away
- tiredness or weakness.
For health professional and community resources, please visit Cancer Australia.
Increased financial assistance for regional and rural communities - IPTAAS enhancement
IPTAAS - the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme - is a very important program to support cancer patients during their cancer treatment. This NSW Government scheme provides financial assistance towards travel and accommodation costs when a patient needs to travel long distances for treatment that is not available locally.
People with a cancer diagnosis living in regional communities are at risk of not getting the treatment they require, due to the potentially prohibitive financial costs of travelling and being away from home.
Since 1 August 2022, there is now new financial assistance rates and expanded eligibility.
Accommodation assistance will be paid at a rate of:
- $40 per night if you are staying with family or friends (Airbnb will be paid at this rate)
- $75 per night if you are staying in not-for-profit or commercial accommodation for the first seven nights and $120 per night from day eight onwards.
The private vehicle subsidy rate increases to 40c per kilometre.
Financial assistance remains the same for:
- the full cost (including booking fees) of public transport is reimbursed less the GST
- the full economy cost less GST is reimbursed for approved air trave
- taxi subsidy that is based on length of appointments/treatment.
Patients attending high-risk foot clinics, non-commercial clinical trials, highly specialised publicly funded oral health clinics in NSW and ocularists are now also eligible to claim.
Learn more about increased financial assistance and eligibility.
In focus: Cancer survivorship and Primary Care
The number of people living with or beyond cancer (defined as ‘cancer survivors’) is increasing, with the most prevalent groups having a history of prostate, breast, melanoma or colorectal cancer.
Primary care plays an important role in the ongoing management of cancer survivors.1
Survivorship care involves management of comorbid illness, symptom management, psychosocial care, secondary prevention, health promotion and overall care coordination.2
Communication and collaboration between GPs and other primary care providers and specialist cancer services is critical to support patients and healthcare providers in delivery of care.
Excellent communication between the GP and oncology teams is paramount to achieve optimal cancer treatment and outcomes, and holistic evidence-based care.
Primary health care’s involvement in case management and shared care and team care arrangements are important elements of their role in managing cancer as a chronic condition, with Australian Optimal Care Pathways recommending, for many cancer types, shared models of care for cancer survivors.3
Cancer Institute NSW has developed education modules to assist clinicians in the delivery of survivorship care.
For more information, contact Kath Duggan, Primary Care Strategic Advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2022 Multicultural Health Week
Multicultural Health Week (MHW) will be held 5-11 September 2022 and is an opportunity to raise awareness of health issues experienced by culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
Here are some facts:
- Women from CALD communities have lower participation rates in BreastScreen NSW than the general population.4
- In 2020-21, 43% of eligible women in NSW were screened for breast cancer. This figure is 8 percentage points lower for CALD women.5
- Australians who spoke a language other than English at home had a lower bowel screening participation rate than those who spoke English at 25-34% compared to 45-49%, respectively.6
MHW is themed every year and this year’s theme is ‘Cancer Screening’, with a focus on the three National Cancer Screening Programs. Radio advertisements in 19 languages and video advertisements in 6 languages will be run on community radio and on-demand video channels.
GPs play a significant role in improving screening rates in CALD communities as they are seen as trusted sources of health information by community members, especially newly arrived refugee communities.
This campaign is asking people from diverse cultural and language groups to speak to their GPs to understand their eligibility and how they can undertake cancer screening tests.
The three national cancer screening programs are: breast cancer screening, bowel cancer screening and cervical cancer screening.
Cancer Institute NSW has produced factsheets in 38 languages with key messages on the national cancer screening programs. They are downloadable as factsheets or as audio files (in 8 languages) and are available on our website.
Find out more about the three national cancer screening programs.
Get access to patient information in other languages.
Complete the course in effective cultural communication in oncology.
For more information, please contact Sheetal Challam (email@example.com).
Prostate Cancer Awareness month—focus on the Prostate Clinical Cancer Register
Prostate cancer is now the most common cancer in Australia—overtaking breast cancer.7
Here are some facts:
- 1 in 6 Australian men will be diagnosed in their lifetime.8
- 75% of Australians still don’t know the PSA test guidelines.7
- Only 36% of prostate cancers are detected at the earliest stage, when we know we can effectively treat the disease.9
- In Australia 5-year survival for men treated for prostate cancer is over 95%.10
The actions we take as a health care community can help ensure best treatment and care, and long-term survival.
The NSW Prostate Clinical Cancer Registry (PCCR) a population-based clinical registry gathers information to understand and improve treatment, care and health outcomes for men with prostate cancer.
More specifically, data collected by the PCCR will help:
- increase use of best practice-based guidelines
- assess patterns of care
- reduce variation in treatments and outcomes
- identify factors that predict treatment outcomes
- provide patient information on the risks and benefits of prostate cancer treatment
- support research into prostate cancer at a population level.
Primary Care providers are well placed to support patients diagnosed with prostate cancer to answer questions about engaging with registry. The registry can be accessed on our website at the NSW Prostate Clinical Cancer Registry.
We understand the diagnosis of prostate cancer has a big impact on men and their families, friends or carers. For this reason, we encourage men to speak to their doctors if they are concerned about their diagnosis. They may also find the following support sites useful:
Chief Executive, Cancer Institute NSW and Chief Cancer Officer NSW appointed
Professor Tracey O’Brien has been appointed Chief Executive of the Cancer Institute NSW and the NSW Chief Cancer Officer, effective 4 July 2022. Tracey is a paediatric and adolescent Haematologist and Oncologist with more than 25 years of experience improving the outcomes of people with cancer in Australia and internationally.
“The Secretary of Health and I are so pleased that Tracey has accepted the role,” says the Hon. Morris Iemma, Cancer Institute Board Chair. “This appointment brings a wealth of experience, dedication and commitment to improved cancer outcomes to the Cancer Institute NSW.”
The Hon. Morris Iemma and Secretary of Health Susan Pearce expressed their gratitude to Sarah McGill, who has been in the role since September 2021, and was instrumental in the recent launch of the NSW Cancer Plan 2022-2027.
Cancer Institute NSW Innovations in Cancer Control Grants 2022 Round – now open
The Cancer Institute NSW is pleased to call for applications for its Innovations in Cancer Control Grants 2022 Round.
Applications for the grants must be in line with the one of the following priority areas:
- Investigating Clinical Variation and Addressing Unwarranted Clinical Variation
- Optimal Care Pathways
How to apply
- The application must be completed online through the Grants Management System (GMS) and submitted no later than 5:00pm on Friday, 2 September 2022.
- Note: all applications will require the appropriate signatures before submission.
- Please refer to the Application Guidelines for instructions on how to complete the application.
- The “Frequently Asked Questions” section on the Innovations in Cancer Control 2022 Round webpage will be updated with relevant questions received during the application period.
For more information, please email: CINSW-Innovation@health.nsw.gov.au
NSW Cancer Plan 2022–2027 marks an ambitious direction for cancer control in NSW
While NSW is recognised as a global leader in cancer care, with one of the highest one- and five-year survival rates for most cancers in the world, cancer continues to have a significant impact on the people of NSW.
The NSW Cancer Plan 2022-2027 was published and launched by the Cancer Institute NSW on the 16th of April. The Plan sets a clear, achievable vision for how stakeholders in the cancer control sector can work together to reduce the incidence of cancer and ensure high quality, compassionate care for all.
The NSW Cancer Plan has been developed over the last two years by more than 800 individuals and organisations across the state. It will guide cancer control across the state from 2022-2027.
The vision of the NSW Cancer Plan is to end cancers as we know them. The Plan is guided by three overriding principles: equity of outcomes, a focus on people at risk of or affected by cancer (person-centredness) and collaboration.
The four priorities highlighted in the Plan include prevention of cancers, screening and early detection of cancers, optimal cancer treatment, care and support, and cancer research. Primary care providers have been identified as key partners in the actions of each of these four priority areas.
Cancer contributes the largest burden of disease in Australia. In NSW, there remains variation in access to a range of cancer services and in cancer outcomes. The plan recognises that some communities bear the burden of cancers more than others and seeks to address the inequities and variations in access to care and outcomes, so every person affected by cancer is seen at the right time, in the right place, for the right care.
Download the NSW Cancer Plan 2022-2027 here and learn more about the role of primary care over the next 5 years.
1. Cancer Council Australia. Australians living with and beyond cancer in 2040. Sydney: Cancer Council Australia, 2018. Available at www.cancer.org.au/content/pdf/News/MediaReleases/2018/Prevalence%20in%202040_FINAL.PDF [Accessed 31 March 2020].
2.The important role of general practice in the care of cancer survivors, Michael Jefford, Bogda Koczwara, Jon Emery, Elysia Thornton-Benko, Janette L Vardy, Australian Journal of General Practice Volume 49, Issue 5, May 2020.
3. Cancer Australia. Principles of Cancer Survivorship. Surry Hills, NSW: Cancer Australia, 2017.
6. AIHW 2021 National Bowel Cancer Screening Program Monitoring Report, page 48
7. PCFA News | PCFA
8. Prostate cancer | Causes, Symptoms & Treatments | Cancer Council
9. Relative survival by stage at diagnosis (prostate cancer) | National Cancer Control Indicators (canceraustralia.gov.au)