2017 Cancer Survivorship Conference

Todd Matthews

Hosted by COSA and Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer

This was the second survivorship conference held on 2nd – 3rd February 2017 at the Adelaide Convention Centre. The first session reviewed survivorship across the UK, USA, Australia and within the indigenous community. Each speaker highlighted that survivorship has improved of the years, but there is still room to improve cancer survivorship care. The UK are developing new care pathways, whilst the USA are focusing on implementing evidence-based change in healthcare delivery from training to policy reform. Australia is reviewing policy within government and non-government institutions to aid in the increasing number of cancer survivors, however there are still poor outcomes for cancer survivors in the Australian Aboriginal community. Many indigenous people have a negative understanding of cancer and are uncomfortable talking about it.

The second and third sections of the day reviewed the issues in conducting research and implementing care. There is a clear gap between survivorship care plan research and implementation despite being agreed as universal care. General practitioners are willing to provide the appropriate care and pathway, however they require training to do so. New training programs are currently being developed by The Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre – A Richard Pratt Legacy for primary care health professionals. The other identified gap is within non – English speaking and rural cancer survivors, where there is a clear disparity and lack of specific care plans to address culturally different needs.

The second day focused using patient reported measures to define the pathway plan. Every cancer survivor’s journey is unique and many people with cancer desire to select their own pathway. These shared care plans and options are best discussed with a primary care provider or support group, including discussing taboo topics including sex, financial stress, psychosocial wellbeing etc. This was an excellent and informative conference showing the full spectrum of cancer survivorship.