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Optimal Care Pathways

The best cancer journey for specific cancer types

The Optimal Care Pathways are a framework for the delivery of consistent, safe, high-quality, and evidence-based care for people with cancer. Covering every step from prevention and early detection through to recovery, living with a chronic disease, or end-of-life-care, they aim to improve patient outcomes through promoting quality cancer care and ensuring that all people diagnosed with cancer receive the best care, irrespective of where they live or receive cancer treatment.

The Optimal Care Pathways can guide, support and inform increased collaboration, more effective care, improved healthcare provider–patient communication and patient experience.

For guidance on developing an Optimal Care Pathway please email optimalcare.pathways@cancervic.org.au.


National endorsement 

The Optimal Care Pathways are endorsed by Cancer Australia, the former National Cancer Expert Reference Group (a committee that reported to the former Australian Health Ministers Advisory Committee and through this committee, to the former Council of Australian Governments Health Council) and all states and territories.

Recently the Optimal Care Pathways developed by the Leukaemia Foundation were endorsed by the Health Chief Executives Forum, which has replaced the former Australian Health Ministers Advisory Committee.

The Optimal Care Pathways have Australia-wide acceptance and government support, and are being implemented nationally.


Access the Optimal Care Pathways

Leukaemia Foundation, supported by the Australian Government have recently developed Optimal Care Pathways, Quick Reference Guides and Guides to Best Cancer Care for 6 blood cancers: children, adolescents and young adults with acute leukaemia, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, chronic myeloid leukaemia, low-grade lymphomas, myelodysplastic syndrome and multiple myeloma.

Cancer Council Victoria, supported by the Victorian Government, has undertaken work to refresh the Optimal Care Pathways, Quick Reference Guides and Guides to Best Cancer Care (formerly named the What to Expect Guides) for 15 cancer types (2nd edition).

The 2nd edition of the Optimal Care Pathways, Quick Reference Guides and Guides to Best Cancer Care for cancer of unknown primary, cervical cancer and sarcoma are currently in progress.

The Optimal Care Pathways are available in their full version or as a Quick Reference Guide.

Browse the Quick Reference Guides

These resources can be used as quick guides. Based on the full Optimal Care Pathways, they provide a summary for different cancer types.

Downloadable information for your patients

Guides to Best Cancer Care

These short guides are a summary version of the Optimal Care Pathways. They help patients, carers and families understand the optimal cancer care that should be provided from diagnosis, through treatment and beyond. They include optimal time frames within which tests or procedures should be completed, prompt lists to support patients to understand what might happen at each step of their cancer experience and to consider what questions to ask, and provide information to help patients and carers communicate with health professionals.

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

This Optimal Care Pathway complements the best practice information provided in the cancer-specific pathways to facilitate the delivery of culturally safe and competent care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It outlines the aspects of the cancer care pathway that need to be responsive to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer. It is also available as a Quick Reference Guide.


For general practitioners and practice managers 

To support you, your practice, and your patients, you can: 

  • Refer newly diagnosed cancer patients to the Guides to Best Cancer Care and print and provide them with a copy of the relevant cancer type consumer guides.
  • Import the GP Quick Reference Guides and Guides to Best Cancer Care for patients and carers into you GP software.

For more information regarding the Optimal Care Pathways, or to send feedback, please email optimalcare.pathways@cancervic.org.au


The Optimal Care Pathways web application

Access the Optimal Care Pathways in an interactive web app on your mobile or your desktop.

The Optimal Care Pathways interactive web app is supported by the Victorian Government.


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