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Executive summary

All Australians affected by cancer should be supported to access and receive optimal cancer care. For those unfamiliar with the intricacies of the Australian healthcare system, navigating fragmented services and providers can be difficult, leaving people affected by cancer at risk of system-related stresses and sub-optimal care.1

Navigation support which is effective, accessible, safe, and responsive will assist individuals to actively participate in their cancer care. Cancer Council’s navigation priorities support a person-centred approach to cancer navigation and aim to ensure equitable access for all to optimal cancer care.

The immediate priorities for enabling people to navigate their cancer care are:

  • Fund the development and implementation of a Australian Cancer Information Strategy.
  • Ensure all Australians are connected to the appropriate level of navigation support regardless of their entry point to cancer care services.
  • Fund community-based organisations to support the development and delivery of safe and appropriate cancer navigation support.

Further work is required to address the underlying fragmentation of the health care system that creates the need for navigation support, but this is a long-term goal requiring system-level reform. We will continue to support work towards this goal.


Cancer Council Australia would like to acknowledge the following people for their contribution to this section as part of the Navigation in Cancer Care Policy.

Amanda PiperCancer Council Victoria
Amanda Robertson Cancer Council South Australia
Andrew Mosley Leukaemia Foundation
Beth Doggett Oncology Social Work Australia New Zealand, and Rare Cancers Australia
Brad Gellert Cancer Council New South Wales
Drew Meehan Cancer Council Australia
Fiona Crawford Williams Flinders University
Clare Lynex Cancer Council Australia
Genevieve Antill McGrath Foundation
Jenni Bruce Cancer Council New South Wales
Kate Pallot Cancer Council New South Wales
Kate Whittaker Cancer Council Australia
Kimberley Williamson Cancer Institute New South Wales
Kristina CoomberCancer Council Western Australia
Megan VarlowCancer Council Australia
Nicole ParkinsonLung Foundation Australia
Olivia HartCancer Council Australia
Kate WhiteCancer Nurses Society of Australia
Patsy YatesQueensland University of Technology
Tanya BuchananCancer Council Australia
Rebecca ReesNational Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
Shelley RushtonCancer Institute New South Wales
Tim RogersRedkite
Tri NguyenCancer Council Australia

Cancer Council Australia extends its appreciation to those people and organisations who contributed to developing this section, but for privacy and other reasons, have asked not to be identified. We would also like to acknowledge and thank the members of the community reference group who contributed their time and experience to guide and shape the development of this policy.

External reviewers: Mei Krishnasamy and Leonie Young.

Policy review period

This policy was published on 8 May 2024, with the most recent update made on 8 May 2024.

This policy will be updated as required as new information and evidence is available. A full review will be considered every 3 years, with this next review due to commence May 2027.

If you would like to receive updates about our work, please complete the form below 


Navigation in Cancer Care

Consistent, individualised and safe assistance is offered to people affected by cancer, families, and carers to overcome person and system-level barriers to timely access to health, support and psychosocial care throughout the cancer experience.1

Cancer Care Coordination

The deliberate organisation between two or more participants (including the person with cancer) involved in care to facilitate the appropriate and timely delivery of healthcare and support services.2 Care coordination is a comprehensive process that operates at a clinical, organisational, administrative and policy level.

Person-Centred Care

Integrated healthcare services and support that are delivered in a setting and manner that is responsive to individuals and their goals, values, and preferences.

Priority Populations

Priority population groups, as defined in the Australian Cancer Plan (ACP), include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, people living in rural and remote areas, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and asexual (LGBTIQA+) people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people living with disability, people in lower socioeconomic groups, people living with a mental illness, older Australians, adolescents and young adults, and children.

1. Kline RM, Rocque GB, Rohan EA, et al. Patient Navigation in Cancer: The Business Case to Support Clinical Needs. Journal of Oncology Practice 2019; 15: 585-590. DOI: 10.1200/jop.19.00230.

2. McDonald K M, Sundaram V, Bravata D M, et al. Care Coordination. In: Shojania KG, McDonald K M, Wachter R M, et al. (eds) Closing the Quality Gap: A Critical Analysis of Quality Improvement Strategies. Rockville (US): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2007.


  1. Calder R, Dunkin R, Rochford C, et al. AUSTRALIAN HEALTH SERVICES: TOO COMPLEX TO NAVIGATE. 2019.

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