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Back to all 04-April 2021
07 Apr 2021
2021 04 April

New online cancer course endorsed by clinicians and consumers

  • Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre
  • University of Melbourne

Like the VCCC, the Victorian Integrated Cancer Service (VICS) is committed to models of care that support older people with cancer.

Across North Eastern Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service, people aged 70 plus account for 50 per cent of cancer-related admissions.  As the Victorian population ages, the number of older people being diagnosed with cancer will continue to increase.  Providing evidence-based care to this growing population is a priority given their unique aged-related needs.  

Consumer representative gives thumbs up to new course

Ray Kelly, Chair of the NEMICS Consumer Reference Group and a member of the NEMICS Governance Committee recently road-tested Cancer and the Older Person, a new, four-week, part-time, massive open online course (MOOC). Ray completed the course and has earned a certificate of achievement.

Cancer and the Older Person draws on the world-leading knowledge of specialists from the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre alliance including the University of Melbourne, the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology.

Ray Kelly, consumer representative...

The course ran over 4 weeks and required 4-5 hours a week to work through course materials and complete the learning activities. I found the course to be of value, even though several sessions were very clinician-based. 

Participants were from all across Australia, as well as two people from Great Britain. Most attendees had a clinical background. I was one of only two people who identified as a consumer/carer.  

The course provided opportunities for in-depth discussions, so we learnt not only from formal sources but also from each other. I was particularly pleased to receive positive interactions from clinicians about my comments during those discussions.  

Effective communication topics provide value

I found sessions on identifying specific health concerns of older people and how this affects their treatment and the effective communication topics to be of most value. I also benefitted from the clinicians' comments in relation to various segments of these sessions.  

Because of the terminology and concepts used, I feel the course is more suitable for clinicians, and people affected by cancer who have had other consumer engagement roles.  

Any health professional who works with older cancer patients should consider this course. I appreciate that while clinicians may be familiar with issues that affect older people, in practice, heavy workloads can make them time-poor, and they may not always be able to fully consider aspects of care that the course suggests.  

Any health professional who works with older cancer patients should consider this course.

Ray Kelly, consumer representative

The course has the potential to remind clinicians what older patients with cancer need, and why it is so valuable to put into practice. 

More endorsement from the community

Very interesting course. Lots of useful information and good to get patients' perspective.

This course was very engaging and had useful information which I will use in my workplace; ongoing benefit to older people with cancer.

Enrolments are open for the next intake of Cancer and the Older Person, commencing 10 May for 4 weeks. 

For more information, contact Erin Turner, Education Program Coordinator, e: erin.turner@unimelb.edu.au

The Cancer and the Older Person program is proudly supported by the Victorian Government.