Investment to improve cancer outcomes in Victoria’s regions
I was delighted to see the $125 million investment from the Australian Government budget for the Rural, Regional and Remote Clinical Trial Enabling Infrastructure Program to improve access to clinical trials that are vital to reduce disparity in outcomes for rural and regional patients with cancer.
Within this, VCCC Regional Oncology Lead, Dr Craig Underhill will head an $18.6 million grant to Border Medical Oncology Research Unit and Regional Trials Network Victoria for the ReViTALISE Project to bridge the metro-regional trials gap by 2025. This investment builds on a great team effort in the VCCC Strategic Research Plan to innovate in the design and delivery of clinical trials in regional Victoria.
Cancer care on your iPhone - science fiction or strategic?
Did you know that in the United States, you can purchase Digital Doctor Gift Certificates? They can be bought in different dollar amounts, like a JB Hi-Fi or Bunnings gift card, only you exchange them for a video chat with a doctor via phone, tablet, or personal computer.
2021 applications close Wednesday 14 October
Clinical trials provide a vital link between scientific discovery and effective new therapies. With better funding, awareness, and access, the clinical trials sector in Australia is growing and provides exciting career opportunities for recent graduates.
Study development provides a good model for engagement
Learning that you have cancer can be a confronting and frightening experience, and the variation in prostate cancer treatment options can be particularly confusing for men, their families, and carers.
VCCC consumers are assisting researchers to understand the impacts of a diagnosis on those affected and how tests and treatments can be improved.
Learning and development opportunity
Whether you're a recent graduate, keen to extend your skills, take a leadership role or explore new ideas for quality improvement, the VCCC Nurse-led Research Hub educational webinars will give you the confidence to take on the challenges and improve competency at the same time.
Library of online resources
If you are studying, or work in any of the disciplines that relate to helping people overcome and be well with cancer, the VCCC has a library of online resources for you to learn more about research developments, clinical trials, psycho-social, and palliative care developments, and much more.
It is your ‘VCCC on-demand’ and provides free access to recordings of online educational webinars and collaborative events.
Subject Development Coordinators: Cancer Across the Lifespan
Do you have a degree in medicine, nursing, allied health, or the sciences? Do you have a demonstrated commitment to excellence in teaching? We are looking for passionate educators to take overall responsibility for the design, implementation, and delivery of the Cancer Across the Lifespan subject (childbearing years, AYA, paediatric) within the new Master of Cancer Sciences program.
Strategies for dealing with moral stress
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Victoria's health care workers are likely to encounter moral distress, anxiety, and regret arising from ethical challenges in cancer care.
Professor Clare Delany, Clinical Ethicist and Chair of the Victorian COVID-19 Cancer Network (VCCN) Clinical Ethics Expert Advisory Group, explains that moral distress typically occurs when a clinician has to implement a decision made by somebody else, and which they believe is wrong. It is different to “ordinary” distress about a tragic situation, such as the death of a patient despite everyone’s best efforts. Moral anxiety refers to a state of being worried or afraid of a decision that may have to be made in the future, and moral regret refers to a feeling that an important value was not fulfilled.
Public awareness campaign to encourage people to clinic
Within a week, Victorian COVID-19 Cancer Network campaign videos, encouraging doctor visits and referrals have been viewed by tens of thousands of people on social media.
The campaign was initiated as a response to recent data from Cancer Australia and Cancer Council Victoria that shows a significant drop in cancer pathology notifications, screening, appointments, and procedures during the pandemic.
The global MD Anderson conference comes virtually to Melbourne
Melbourne will host the annual international Global Academic Programs conference, presented in 2020 by the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and MD Anderson Cancer Centre (Texas, USA).
The conference, with the theme: New Frontiers - Leading Inspired Cancer Care, will be held from Monday 16 November through to Thursday 19 November.
COVID-19 will hasten change to new models of care
As we look toward the next phase in our response to COVID-19, I have been reflecting on the importance of the courage to take risks as a leadership attribute. We can all think of a time in our lives when we have hesitated, uncertain of the future, yet by moving forward we arrive at our destination wiser and more resilient.
The past few weeks have been especially challenging for those directly involved in patient care...
Better collection and use of data than ever before
The VCCC Data-Driven Research Program is building upon infrastructure, linked data, and expertise of the alliance to create a research-ready data platform to drive the next generation of advances in cancer care.
Historically, health data has been siloed in separate systems, generally collected for single-use and bound by complexities in governance and challenges of linkage which has prevented its use for effective, scalable health services research.
Who do you think you are? Overcoming imposter syndrome
Imposter syndrome is a term used to describe the feelings of being a fraud or not up to the task. It is common in life to occasionally feel as though we are out of our depth. This can be a good thing and focuses our attention on learning and the productive ways that we can do better in the future. But imposter syndrome can present a roadblock to a bright career and in a workplace it may mean that some of the best ideas never see the light of day.
Teletrials as a means to increase regional clinical trial participation
Two new papers, Teletrials: implementation of a new paradigm for clinical trials and Exploring Australian regional cancer patients' experiences of clinical trial participation via telemedicine technology have been published in The Medical Journal of Australia (The MJA) and Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare respectively.
Both papers highlight why teletrials are a key factor in efforts to reduce the mortality gap between patients with cancer in regional and rural areas and those in metropolitan areas, and how the VCCC's Teletrials program has overcome some of the long standing barriers to clinical trial participation.
VCCC Nurse-led Research Hub Partnership Post Program
The VCCC Nurse-led Research Hub provides a learning environment where nurses have protected time to develop their research skills. This year, the Partnership Post Program was interrupted by the pandemic – requiring adaptation new ways of communicating. Participants from VCCC alliance hospitals have now completed the (slightly longer than) 12-week program. In a concluding online presentation, graduates of the program were able to showcase their research ideas and plans for their progression.
Victorian COVID-19 Cancer Network (VCCN)
Since March this year, the VCCC has been working with Monash Partners Comprehensive Cancer Consortium (MPCCC) on a collaborative project known as the Victorian COVID-19 Cancer Network (VCCN).
As a workforce-led initiative, this has provided an agile response to the rapidly evolving issues created by the pandemic, affecting everything from treatment guidelines to staff wellbeing.
Victorian COVID-19 Cancer Network (VCCN) Telehealth Expert Working Group
Cass Beer, Research Officer and Project Manager from Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Genevieve Johnston, Project Officer and Dietician, Northern Health joined the VCCC in August in a joint secondment to assist the Victorian COVID-19 Cancer Network (VCCN) Telehealth Expert Working Group.
Applications by Sunday 6 September
We are seeking a Teaching Assistant, Level A, for a casual role for 13 weeks during the Term 4 teaching period with an estimated workload of around 5-7 hours per week.
This opportunity requires an enthusiastic scientist with educational experience to take on the support of an online community of clinicians and researchers.
Clinical Directors expert group makes recommendations
Essential cancer surgery and screening procedures will continue in Victoria’s public hospitals following the Victorian government’s rapid response to advice from the Victorian COVID-19 Cancer Network’s (VCCN) Clinical Directors expert group.
Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services released a policy in mid-July that will enable surgical procedures necessary for cancer screening, diagnostics and treatment for the five most common cancers (colorectal, prostate, breast, melanoma and lung) and head and neck cancers to remain operational, despite a 75% reduction quota in elective surgeries.
Don't Delay, Cancer Won't Wait
The impact of COVID-19 on people with cancer is of huge concern particularly as Victoria faces tougher stage four lockdown restrictions. We are concerned that we will see a further reduction in GP visits and participation in cancer screening with delays in diagnosis causing a surge of new and more serious cases over the next year.
Solutions for removing barriers
Every year in Victoria, around 300 adolescents and young adults (AYA, 15-25 years) are diagnosed with cancer. Approximately 30 Victorian adolescents and young adults die from cancer each year. It is the leading cause of non-accidental death in this age group in Australia.
New haematology learnings available online
When it comes to any form of technology, the end user must be taken into consideration. Shifting a fully programmed symposia from in-person to online delivery is a considerable challenge, but it's a move VCCC alliance members have enthusiastically embraced during the pandemic, and audiences have applauded.
Online learning in the community
In the last two years, the VCCC has presented a free massive open online course (MOOC) to meet the needs of primary care practitioners who have patients with cancer. The 4-week online course was developed in Melbourne as a collaboration with the University of Melbourne and the VCCC. Since the first 4-week burst, the course has attracted around 4,000 participants, with health workers logging in from more than 90 countries worldwide.
Structures in place to systemise collaboration
Successful research with broad scope and translational potential requires collaboration of individual researchers, disciplines and organisations.
Seeking better understanding together
Professor David Wiesenfeld, VCCC Research and Education Lead for Head and Neck Cancer recently hosted a forum to bring together laboratory scientists and clinical researchers to better understand cancers of the head and neck therefore assisting the discovery of new and effective interventions for prevention and treatment.