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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Cancer care network ‘to address existing disparities in cancer outcomes’, says Health Minister

Health Industry Hub | May 21, 2024 |

Pharma News: Announced by the government at the Innovations Showcase event, hosted by Cancer Australia in Sydney, the launch of the Australian Comprehensive Cancer Network (ACCN) aims to improve cancer outcomes and experiences for all Australians.

Mark Butler MP, Federal Minister for Health, underscored the pivotal role of the ACCN, stating, “The ACCN represents a crucial step forward in ensuring that every Australian, regardless of their background or location, receives the best possible cancer care. By linking services, fostering collaboration and sharing expertise, the ACCN aims to address existing disparities in cancer outcomes, particularly among rural and Indigenous populations.”

Encouraging broad participation, Minister Butler emphasised, “All services and professionals involved in cancer care are encouraged to join the ACCN and contribute to this transformative initiative. Together, we can make substantial strides in improving cancer outcomes and experiences for all Australians.”

Despite Australia’s commendable global standing in cancer survival rates, persistent disparities persist, notably affecting rural and remote communities, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) patients, as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.

Professor Dorothy Keefe, CEO of Cancer Australia, highlighted the ACCN’s role in advancing the objectives set forth in the Australian Cancer Plan, asserting, “To achieve world class cancer outcomes for all Australians and realise the ambition of the Australian Cancer Plan, we need collective action from all sectors of health care to address issues that contribute to variation in cancer outcomes and experience.”

The ACCN does not aim to duplicate existing networks or alliances within and between jurisdictions that deliver cancer care or conduct cancer research and clinical trials. At the core of the ACCN are the Comprehensive Cancer Centres (CCCs), which will serve as linchpins in connecting cancer services nationwide.

Through strategic partnerships and leveraging virtual connectivity, CCCs will collaborate with various stakeholders, including academic institutions, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, regional hospitals, and allied health services to share expertise and access to comprehensive cancer care for all people affected by cancer.  

Participation in the ACCN is voluntary, potentially leading to a lower uptake initially. For services that decide to partner, there will be an impact evaluation in the context of the broader Australian Cancer Plan after 2, 5 and 10 years.

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