Cancer patients will receive clear messaging and information about the importance and safety of their care during COVID-19 with the launch of the new Safe Cancer Care campaign, a joint initiative of the Monash Partners Comprehensive Cancer Consortium (MPCCC), the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre alliance (VCCC) and Cancer Council Victoria (CCV).
The campaign is an outcome of the new Victorian COVID-19 Cancer Network (VCCN), which has a dedicated Expert Group for Patient Information and Support, led by Danielle Spence, Head of Division Strategy and Support at CCV.
“We observed a high level of concern and uncertainty among patients about how to continue their cancer treatment, and we hope this campaign will help to support patients in continuing their cancer care without anxiety,” Ms Spence commented.
VCCN’s expert healthcare professionals raised concern about implications for patient health outcomes following a 40 per cent decline in presentations for cancer management appointments since the implementation of stay at home guidelines in late March. This prompted an urgent need to reassure patients about the safety of their cancer management.
The Safe Cancer Care campaign will convey the importance of attending essential cancer-related appointments, in addition to seeking advice from General Practitioners when people in the community have health concerns.
“Our priority is always to maximise the health and wellbeing of our patients through the provision of good healthcare while minimising risks during the COVID-19 pandemic. A fundamental aspect of his is being able to work towards the prevention and early detection of cancer,” said Dr Ines Rio, General Practitioner and member of the Victorian COVID-19 Cancer Taskforce (VCCT).
“Patients with symptoms of coronavirus are being channelled into alternative, specific COVID-19 testing clinics or separate testing environments in general practice As well as face to face consultations, GPs are also consulting by phone and video – either before a face to face consultation or if a face to face consultation is not needed. This means it is safe to visit your GP for your ongoing routine care or if you are concerned about your health,” Dr Ines said.
The campaign features videos of health professionals from a range of disciplines, including oncology, primary care, allied health and infectious diseases. The objective is to ensure that patients continue receiving optimal cancer care throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
To stay informed about the Safe Cancer Care campaign and share it with your networks, follow MPCCC on social media:
Monash Partners Comprehensive Cancer Consortium
Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre
If you are a health professional and would like to be involved in the campaign, please send an expression of interest to our MPCCC Communications Officer, Maeve Martyn: firstname.lastname@example.org