Cancer Council Australia

Annual Review 2017-2018

Information for health professionals

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With each year we understand more about cancer – both the disease and its impact – leading to advances in treatment and improvements in the way we care for people affected by cancer. Knowledge about cancer treatment, prevention and detection and support for people affected by cancer is constantly growing and evolving.

Cancer Council Australia helps ensure Australia’s cancer care professionals are informed of the latest developments and ideas in cancer control and care by producing a range of resources, information and guidelines for health professionals.

Cancer Forum

 Cancer Forum

Cancer Forum is Australia’s only online multidisciplinary review journal focused on topical cancer control issues. It is produced for Australian cancer care professionals by Cancer Council Australia in partnership with the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia.

Cancer Forum is published three times a year (March, July and November). Each issue features a “forum” about a contemporary and often contentious issue in cancer control. Each edition is coordinated by an eminent guest editor, who invites leading clinicians, researchers or other experts to outline the latest advances and/or challenges or write a thought-provoking perspective on the topic. In 2016-17 the forum topics were ethics in cancer, subtypes in breast cancer, and psychosocial support for breast cancer patients. We thank the respective guest editors Professor Ian Olver, Professor Nicholas Wilcken and Professor Phyllis Butow.

In 2016-17 there were over 72,000 visits to the Cancer Forum website.

Clinical practice guidelines


Cancer Guidelines

Cancer Council Australia is the nation’s leading independent provider of cancer clinical practice guidelines – evidence-based recommendations for the management of various cancers that we produced for clinicians and health professionals involved in treatment, prevention, detection and/or patient care.

Our clinical practice guidelines are developed according to a rigorous process that includes independent, multidisciplinary clinical input and best-practice systematic reviews of the evidence.

We use a wiki-based publishing system to enable efficient updates, dissemination, public consultation and engagement with contributors. In 2016-17 around 240,000 individual users accessed Cancer Council Australia’s clinical practice guidelines online, an increase of nearly 40% from 2015-16.

Some of the guidelines we produce are commissioned and funded by government or other organisations. We thank the Australian Government Department of Health and the Melanoma Institute Australia for their support for specific projects this year, and our members and their donors for support that enables us to maintain in-house capacity in-house to manage production of guidelines. We also acknowledge the chairs and members of our guideline working groups who voluntarily contribute their expertise.

New clinical practice guidelines and other highlights

New guidelines for colorectal cancer

Bowel cancer is Australia’s second biggest cancer killer, sadly causing 80 deaths each week.

In June 2017 we submitted the final draft of Clinical practice guidelines for the prevention, early detection and management of colorectal cancer to Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council for independent review and endorsement. This has been the largest of our guideline development projects, covering all facets of colorectal (bowel) cancer control, and involving screening of nearly 77,600 published papers.

During public consultation, there were more than 6,500 page views of these draft guidelines. Of these users, 87% were from Australia, with remaining visits coming from countries such as the United States, India, New Zealand, Germany, Canada, China and the United Kingdom, demonstrating the truly global reach of our guidelines work.

Cervical cancer screening guidelines

The cervical cancer death rate in Australia has halved since cervical cancer screening using the Pap test was introduced in the 1990s. In December 2017 Australia’s national screening program changed to a five-yearly human papillomavirus (HPV) test. The renewed program is expected to further reduce the number of Australian women who develop cervical cancer, and its morbidity rate.

On 13 March 2017 Cancer Council Australia published National Cervical Screening Program: Guidelines for the management of screen-detected abnormalities, screening in specific populations and investigation of abnormal vaginal bleeding. The new guidelines were made available in advance of the national screening program renewal to educate health professionals and help them prepare for the transition. We also developed an online education module to support implementation and future updating of the guidelines.

Other highlights

From October 2016 we commenced the publication of new Clinical practice guidelines for the prevention and diagnosis of lung cancer, with systematic reviews for a new set of clinical questions ongoing.

The first sections of the revised and updated Clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of melanoma were published online in December 2016, and further sections added in April 2017. This project was developed in partnership with the Melanoma Institute Australia and with the support of the Skin Cancer College Australasia. Reviews have now been completed or are underway for 17 of the 24 clinical questions.

In addition, throughout 2016-17 we continued work on new and updated guidelines for surveillance colonoscopy, endometrial cancer and sarcoma. We have also been commissioned by the Department of Health to review the guidelines for BCC (basal cell carcinoma) and SCC (squamous cell carcinoma) skin cancers.

This page was last updated on: Thursday, December 21, 2017