SMICS advances Optimal Cancer Care Pathways with the help of patients and carers

The Southern Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service (SMICS) is taking a proactive approach to the implementation of Optimal Care Pathways (OCPs), by involving a focus group of patients and carers in the implementation process.

Optimal Care Pathways (OCPs) are about improving the consistency and quality of cancer treatment and are central to the Victorian Cancer Plan 2016 – 2020.

“Involving consumers will help us to better understand the patient/carer experience of the cancer journey within the SMICS catchment,” said SMICS Manager Heather Davis.

“Initially this work is focussing on lung and colorectal cancers within south east Melbourne, but over time we will be expanding to include OCP’s for other types of cancers too”, she said.

SMICS involves patients and carers

SMICS involves patients and carers

SMICS focus group participants have told us that they want informationspecific to my needs, and also my stage in understanding”.

Patients want to be assured that the pathway is “flexible…to suit the individual’s circumstances …tailored to the patient …and not just following a template”.

 “So often the carer gets forgotten

A single page, easy to read summary would be great”, “handy”, “really good, and would be “great information” when talking to health practitioners and for travelling overseas.

The adoption of the Optimal Cancer Care Pathways is being supported in all States and Territories to ensure consistent optimal cancer care across Australia. The aim is to improve patient outcomes by facilitating optimal care using evidence based, best practice pathways of care.

Optimal Cancer Care Pathways (OCPs) have been developed for 15 cancer types to help people receive the best possible care, including.

  • acute myeloid leukaemia
  • breast cancer
  • colorectal cancer
  • endometrial cancer
  • head and neck cancers
  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • high-grade glioma cancer
  • lung cancer
  • melanoma
  • non-melanoma skin cancers
  • oesophagogastric cancer
  • ovarian cancer
  • pancreatic cancer
  • prostate cancer
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma


Resources are available for each cancer pathway, including:

  • detailed clinical pathways for cancer specialists, health professionals and health service administrators
  • quick reference guides for General Practitioners – to familiarise GPs and primary care providers with the care pathway
  • ‘what to expect’ guides for patients – to assist patients and people affected by cancer to understand the care pathway and what to expect at each stage. Available in seven languages.

The guides have been endorsed by the National Cancer Expert Reference Group, Cancer Australia and Cancer Council Australia, and are available at: An interactive consumer web portal is also