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Policy context 

The Australian Cancer Plan (ACP) is a ten-year plan designed to improve cancer outcomes for all Australians, especially for priority populations whose cancer outcomes are the poorest. This national strategy sets out strategic objectives, ambitions, goals, and priority actions for cancer control. Embedded within the ACP are the Optimal Care Pathways which aim to improve patient outcomes through promoting quality cancer care and ensuring that all people affected by cancer receive the best care, irrespective of where they live or receive treatment. They describe a national standard of high-quality cancer care and are key to achieving world-class health systems.

The ACP complements and leverages existing plans and strategies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Plan. This plan was developed by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) to address the specific needs for cancer care that is community-led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their communities. NACCHO received $238.5 million to support the aim of achieving equity in cancer outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This funding will go towards building capacity and capability in the Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) sector to support local cancer care needs and priorities; and ensure mainstream cancer care services are safe and accessible.

In support of the ACP’s implementation, in late 2023 the Australian Government announced an investment of $166 million to establish the Australian Cancer Nursing and Navigation Program (ANNCP). ANNCP aims to ensure all people with cancer have access to high-quality and safe care by improving access to high-quality, multidisciplinary and integrated cancer services for all people with cancer. Several components of the program are reflected within Cancer Council’s policy priorities below, as the sustainability of the program is a high priority.


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.

Explore our Treatment and Care Policy.