Recent data from Cancer Australia, Cancer Council Victoria and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, show a significant drop in cancer pathology notifications, screening, appointments and procedures during the pandemic. In response, four major Victorian cancer bodies – the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) alliance, Monash Partners Comprehensive Cancer Consortium, Cancer Council Victoria and the Victorian Integrated Cancer Services – have come together with a shared message: ‘Cancer Care Never Stops’.
The ‘Cancer Care Never Stops’ campaign features a series of 90-second videos scripted and voiced by Victorian doctors which will be shared on social media and other digital platforms from today.
The videos are designed to address fears people may have about seeking medical care during the pandemic and to reaffirm that seeking medical care is one of the four reasons to leave home. Proof of a medical appointment is also an accepted reason for a person to be further than 5kms from home.
Impact of delaying health checks could be profound
“The consequences of people delaying health checks could be profound for both the individual and our health care system,” Professor Grant McArthur, Executive Director of the VCCC and Co-Chair of the Victorian COVID-19 Cancer Network, said.
“We are unfortunately preparing for a wave of cancer cases coming through in the next six to twelve months, so we want to urge Victorians that getting timely checks and having follow up appointments is very important, safe and accessible.”
“COVID-19 has not changed the fact that one in three men and one in four women in Victoria will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 75,” Professor McArthur said.
Dr Ines Rio, a general practitioner who voiced one of the videos, highlights that a range of appointment options are available.
“If people have concerns or are due for a check-up, GPs are available via video call, phone or face-to-face appointments, and we will always advise patients on the safest and appropriate options that best suit them. If tests or a referral to a specialist is required, GPs will make the necessary arrangements.”
A second video addresses the risks of patients not attending specialist cancer appointments and fears about coming into a hospital or healthcare environment.
“Cancer never stops, and neither do health care professionals. If something’s not right, please contact your GP,” Dr Rio said.
For more information or to obtain a resources pack contact Avalee Weir, Head of Communications, VCCC
View the Cancer Care Never Stops videos
See the Victorian COVID-19 Cancer Network webpage for more information.