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Quarterly Newsletter

2023, Edition 3

Welcome to the third edition of our eNewsletter for 2023. Below you'll find exciting news from the WCMICS Team, updates on current WCMICS improvement initiatives and other work across the state.

We trust you’ll enjoy reading on.

Angela Mellerick
WCMICS Program Manager (Acting)


WCMICS welcomes welcome Jannelle Lay, Service Improvement and Consumer Engagement Project Officer. Jannelle joins us from the Department of Health and has a strong background in epidemiology and data analytics. Jannelle has a Bachelor of Biomedicine and Master of Public Health.

"I'm delighted to be joining the WCMICS and wider VICS team as a Project Officer.

My career has been driven by a passion for project management, stakeholder engagement, and all things data. 

My previous experience in the field of infectious diseases has equipped me with a range of skills and insights, and I am excited to pivot my expertise to the world of quality improvement and cancer care.

I'm really looking forward to collaborating with each of you and contributing to the remarkable mission of VICS of improving the lives of individuals affected by cancer in Victoria."
Contact: [email protected]


WCMICS Annual Forum

The WCMICS Annual Forum 22-2023 is an opportunity to celebrate and recognise the past year of collaboration, innovation and improvement work in cancer care across our region.

The Forum will feature a welcome and reflection from WCMICS Chair Professor Shelley Dolan RN MSc PhD, presentation and update of WCMICS-funded projects from our health service members and presentation of the consumer experience in cancer care.
Refreshments to be provided following the event's closure.Register now to secure your spot and join us in celebrating a year of driving improvement and supporting change in cancer care.

VCCC Alliance Monday Lunch Livestream: Cancer Mind Care

Register now to attend part one of the VCCC Alliance Monday Lunch Livestream, Cancer mind care: breaking down the barriers. 

In a collaborative project between Western & Central Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service (WCMICS), the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Gippsland Regional Integrated Cancer Service (GRICS), the Cancer Mind Care self-help online platform was developed and launched in 2021. 

It provides Australia’s first ‘one-stop-shop’ for tailored mental health support for people with cancer, their support persons, clinicians and First Nations peoples.

It is a free and accessible online platform, which can anonymously provide a non-threatening first step to access cancer psychology support and services.

In this webinar, a multidisciplinary line-up of experts will discuss how to address and work effectively with the barriers to treating people with both mental health concerns and cancer.

In case you missed it

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Peter Mac NAIDOC Week Health Forum

The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre NAIDOC Week Health Forum, hosted by Aboriginal Support Project Officer Andrea Casey, was an opportunity to learn about work being done to improve health outcomes and experiences for First Nations people.

WCMICS Cancer Service Development Manager Dilu Rupassara and SMICS Senior Project Manager Jenny Thresher presented on the Victorian Integrated Cancer Services Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Optimal Care Pathways Implementation plan.

St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne First Nations Cancer Coordinator Marissa Mulcahy, whose project role is funded by WCMICS, explained the various ways her position is supporting First Nations people with cancer and their families.

The forum also heard from Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO)’s Executive Director of Population Health Abe Ropitini on the new VACCHO Aboriginal Cancer Journey Strategy and Cancer Council Victoria Aboriginal Partnerships and Program Advisor, Colin Darcy.

Women's Health Week and Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month

To acknowledge this year's #womenshealthweek theme: 'Grow Your Knowledge' and #GynaecologicalCancerAwarenessMonth, we shared one of WCMICS' many free resources available to #CancerCare clinicians.

My Cancer Diagnosis Explained (MCDE) was created to help improve the amount and quality of information given to people when they receive a cancer diagnosis. Diagnosis can be an overwhelming process, MCDE enables clinicians and health practitioners to provide individualised diagnosis information to patients and their carers.

To download the MCDE collection, or to view Victorian Integrated Cancer Services extensive resources library click here. 

Celebrating Wear it Purple Day

The WCMICS office was overcome with a wash of purple this August. 

Wear it Purple Day is an annual expression of support and acceptance to young LGBTQIA+ people.

“Wear it Purple was established to show young people across the globe that there was hope, that there were people who did support and accept them, and that they have the right to be proud of who they are.” - Wear it Purple.

WCMICS and the wider Victorian Integrated Cancer Services celebrate, value and include people of all backgrounds, genders, sexualities, cultures, bodies and abilities.

Head and Neck Cancer Day 2023

For this year's #headandneckcancer Day WCMICS highlighted the importance of ongoing support, information and care for those affected by cancer.

In a WCMICS-led project, Victoria’s first Head & Neck Cancer Support Group was formed and launched in 2019 which continues to run as a peer-led support group in Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre’s Wellbeing Centre.

The Victorian Head & Neck Cancer Education and Support Group, which meets monthly, welcomes Head and Neck Cancer patients, carers, family and friends from diagnosis to many years post treatment.

Make sure to share this valuable resource with fellow health professionals, patients, and carers.

Project Updates

West Metro Health Service Partnership Collaboration Update

WCMICS are proudly supporting the West Metro Health Service Partnership through provision of WCMICS Project Officers, Kate Whitehead and Travis Hall. The West Metro HSP (WMHSP) team in collaboration with the participating health services are embedding Enhanced Recovery After Surgery plus Prehabilitation (ERAS+) care across five health services to help reduce surgical complications and reduce length of stay. A key component of ERAS+ is pre-operative education which aims to inform and empower patients to be active in their care and recovery.

The multidisciplinary teams have now finished developing 21 virtual surgery school (VSS) educational videos.

The delivery of pre-operative education via VSS has been well established locally and internationally in ERAS+ care. The teams have developed general and condition-specific video sets for patients; the general information covers important topics such as: exercise, nutrition and psychology. Whilst the condition-specific videos cover topics important for the condition and surgery. The general videos are applicable to all types of surgery, whist the the condition-specific videos are specific gynaecology, head and neck and orthopaedics surgeries.

The WMHSP team engaged with multidisciplinary experts and consumers at each health service to develop the VSS videos.

The VSS videos will help inform and educate patients on important topics that will help them prepare for their upcoming surgery. This may help patients feel more engaged with their care and improve understanding about their surgery and care delivery.

For clinicians, the videos will ensure all patients receive standardised, accurate information prior to surgery. Patients will have the opportunity to re-watch the videos which may improve retention of information.

The WMHSP team is currently translating the videos into five languages other than English, these will soon be available in: Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Greek and Vietnamese.

Furthermore, The WMHSP team is looking into a platform to host the VSS videos.

Watch this space for further updates.

Implementing the Optimal Care Pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer

The final report for the state-wide focus area ‘Optimal Care Pathway (OCP) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’ was endorsed by the VICS Managers on the 23 Aug. 2023.

WCMICS and HRICS co-led the VICS statewide implementation of the implementation of the OCP for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer by collaborating with key partners to:

- Improve workforce knowledge of the OCP.
- Improve the understanding of the unique needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders people with cancer.

      Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to experience a different pattern of cancer incidence and significant disparities in cancer outcomes, compared with non-Indigenous Australians.

      Despite health services' commitment to provide high quality care, provision of accessible, culturally safe cancer care to Aboriginal people is less evident.

      A cross-sectional survey was developed based on Cancer Australia’s OCP Implementation Guide and distributed to health professionals practicing in 29 Health Services across Victoria.

      The survey assessed variation in health professionals’ knowledge, skills, professional/demographic background, and confidence in relation to implementing the Optimal Care Pathway (OCP) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer in Victoria, Australia.

      The survey results provided preliminary evidence that health professionals who attend cultural training have greater awareness of the OCP for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer. Future cohort studies are needed to assess longitudinal application of this OCP.

      This program of work has been completed and handed over for local implementation according to priorities within each ICS and its member health services.

      Development of indicators to measure alignment with the Optimal Care Pathways

      This year WCMICS has developed a suite of performance indicators to enable the VICS to monitor the alignment of Victorian health services with the OCP recommendations.

      All adult cancer OCP recommendations were assessed for their ability to be measured. Relevant cancer specialty areas as well as quality managers and Department of Health data representatives reviewed the recommendations, and a clinical reference group ranked the recommendations for their value in monitoring the quality of cancer care and potential to inform impactful improvement activities.

      From this, we established a final list of agreed, automatable performance indicators that measure alignment with the OCPs. Development of the indicators is now underway in consultation with the VICS and the Department.

      This project will strengthen focus on monitoring use of OCPs at scale across Victoria and will enable the VICS to provide health services consistent regular data reporting against these indicators.

      The project implementation plan will be finalised this year, and VICS roll out is expected next year.

      Watch this space! For more information on the OCP monitoring project, contact us at [email protected].

      Statewide News

      Victorian Cancer Plan consultation workshops

      The Department of Health is hosting several consultation workshops with stakeholders across Victoria to identify and prioritise opportunities to improve cancer outcomes for Victorians in the Victorian cancer plan 2024-2028.

      Anyone with an interest in contributing to the Victorian cancer plan 2024-2028 is invited to attend a consultation workshop in Melbourne, regional Victoria or online (Zoom). This includes:

      • Health professionals
      • Health services
      • Consumers
      • Carers
      • The cancer control sector
      • Researchers
      • Advocates

      Consumers are invited to attend all workshops. There is also a virtual workshop only for people affected by cancer, such as patients, carers, family members and those living with or after cancer.

      Register now. 

      VICS Optimal Care Summits

      The first VICS Optimal Care Summits consultation will examine oesophagogastric Cancer care in Victoria. 

      If your work includes care or support for patients in Victoria with OG/upper GI cancer, and you would like to be involved in this consultation, add your details to the quick web form linked here

      Across the network

      Supportive care matters

      Produced by The Oncology Network and supported by Canteen Australia’s Youth Cancer Services, Supportive Care Matters is a podcast hosted by Medical Oncologist, Dr. Bogda Koczwara. Dr. Koczwara is a medical oncologist and a senior staff specialist at the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer.

      The first episode is available now.

      Pancare Foundation Resources

      My Care KIT and other cancer resources now available.

      My Care KIT was developed by Pancare Foundation as a guide for patients throughout their experience with an upper GI cancer. My Care KIT contains Knowledge, Information and Tools to help patients better understand a recent diagnosis, treatments available and various pathways through living with an upper GI cancer.

      Packaged in a handy A5 binder that patients can use to keep safe other medical information they may receive from their treating hospital or cancer service, it contains evidence-based information covering:

      • Understanding a recent diagnosis
      • Treatment options
      • Diet and nutrition
      • Living well
      • Trials and research
      • Finances and receipts
      • Palliative and advanced care

      You can order these free online from Pancare's online shop.


      Pancare have also recently launched a new referral page so users can easily refer patients and caregivers to their PanSupport service.

      The PanSupport program is the only specialised and comprehensive biopsychosocial supportive care service available to patients and their families impacted by upper GI cancer including pancreatic, oesophageal, stomach, biliary & liver cancers. 

      When referring patients or caregivers to PanSupport, you can simply now use the form to submit a referral and a member of the PanSupport team will be in contact with the referred individual to assist them with their supportive care needs.

      Visit the page here.

      Comprehensive patient Assessment Masterclass

      Register now to attend a special Comprehensive patient Assessment Masterclass held by the VCCC Alliance Nurse-Led Research Hub.

      Hosted by Mei Krishnasamy PhD FAAN, the masterclass will be delivered in-person at the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre from 10.00am-4.15pm Wednesday November 22nd, 2023.

      Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre Resources

      Did you know over 1 million Australians are currently living with cancer, or beyond cancer?

      The Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre offer a range of #cancersurvivorship resources for health professionals, patients and carers.

      View the newly updated follow-up of survivors of breast cancer fact sheet for health professionals here

      The Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre (ACSC) has developed cancer survivorship education videos to improve your understanding in survivorship care for people affected by cancer. 

      The video provides an overview of survivorship practice which highlights the importance to assess patient’s needs and developing a care plan post curative cancer treatment. 

      Health professionals and individuals impacted by cancer can access cancer survivorship education materials through ACSC website or via this link. 

      NCIC Annual Symposium

      Would you like to hear what has changed in the management of infection in cancer patients in 2023?

      The National Centre for Infections in Cancer Annual Symposium, "Pathways to better infection care in cancer", will provide a comprehensive update on new pathways and novel interventions to deliver best practice care for treating and preventing infection in cancer.

      The full day symposium offers attendees the opportunity to speak with experts and speakers from The National Centre for Infections in Cancer, University of Sydney, Austin Health and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

      Follow the link to view the full agenda and secure your spot 📅

      News from across the VICS

      To hear more about what’s happening in your area’s Integrated Cancer Service click below:

      Barwon South Western region
      Gippsland region
      Grampians region
      Hume region

      Loddon Mallee region
      North Eastern Melbourne
      Paediatric (statewide)
      Southern Melbourne

        Western & Central Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service

        2 St Andrew's Place, East Melbourne, Victoria


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