Half of cancer patients face care hurdles

November 29, 2022 02:03 PM AEDT | By AAPNEWS
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More than half of Australian cancer patients experience systemic barriers to accessing the care they need, a new report has found.

The report, Addressing The Hidden Burdens of Cancer Care, said the majority of those surveyed noted complexities in navigating cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment, as well as the difficulties of managing life around their care.

The nearly 600 Australian patients surveyed said the most common barrier to care is around getting the right information at the right time to make informed decisions.

It is estimated that 162,000 new cancer cases will be diagnosed this year and an estimated 50,000 people will die. 

Conducted by Australia's largest dedicated cancer care provider Icon Group, the report found 28 per cent said deciding on the right treatment pathway was one of the hardest parts of their experience.

One in five said finding the right healthcare professionals was the most challenging part about living with cancer.

And one in five also said the lack of integration and communication of information between different healthcare providers was distressing, while 18 per cent said a lack of reliable and timely information was a barrier.

Icon Group chief executive Mark Middleton said patients demanded "a system that talks to each other and provides a connected service that involves them ... every step of the way".

Cure Brain Cancer Foundation head Lance Kawaguchi said when it comes to care options, knowledge for patients is key.

"We can offer the best cancer care in the world but if people don't know it is available to them or feel lost in the system, they can't benefit from it," he said.

In collaboration with advocacy groups, Icon has committed to short-term solutions including setting up local and regional forums to help get quality information and support to the patient at the right time.

"By coming together, we can focus our collective power to remove systemic barriers and innovate the cancer experience on a scale not seen before," Mr Middleton said. 


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