A new suite of national resources designed to empower cancer patients and ensure they receive optimal care anywhere in Australia was launched in Ballarat today.
Titled, 'What to Expect,' the suite of resources consists of 19 tumour-specific guides for patients to help make sense of what should happen throughout their treatment and cancer experience. The guides highlight the value of having a team of health professionals to review test results and plan treatment based on the individual patient's preferences and needs.
The launch also identified that recent data from the Department of Health and Human Services shows the number of patients accessing radiotherapy treatment in the Grampians region is below the state average. Failure to access optimal treatment, whether that be radiotherapy, surgery or systemic therapies is known to lead to suboptimal outcomes for patients, both in terms of cure and symptom control.
Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre Radiation Oncologist Dr Simone Reeves said the benefit of the 'What to Expect' resources is that it empowers patients to see what treatment options are available to them to ask questions of their treatment team.
"Cancer patients have a range of different treatment options available to them and it can be quite overwhelming. The aim of these resources is to educate patients on the optimal care they should receive and to empower them through the decision making process," Dr Reeves said.
Leonie Bird, who is currently undergoing treatment for cancer said it can be hard to understand the different options for treatment, such as radiotherapy, when you're also trying to come to terms with a diagnosis of cancer.
"Being diagnosed with cancer is a very scary time and you don't know what is to come. The 'What to Expect' resource will be so invaluable in providing people confidence to know what to expect, what optimal care they should be receiving, and helping to formulate questions for health professionals."By removing the 'unknown' of cancer treatment, a lot of the anxiety can be lifted too."