An Australian Cancer Nursing and Navigation Program set to transform services

Portrait of an Indian woman fighting cancer with her physician. The doctor is a mixed-race female. The two women are seated next to each other indoors. They are embracing and laughing.

A first-of-its-kind Australian Cancer Nursing and Navigation Program is set to receive $166 million of Government funding.

The program will improve equitable access to high-quality, multidisciplinary and integrated cancer services for all people with cancer, irrespective of their type of cancer or where they live.

Improving cancer outcomes for one million Australians, the program covers cancer prevention, early detection through to recovery, treatment, survivorship and end-of-life care.

Chief Nurse Kerry Patford of the McGrath Foundation’s successful breast cancer nurse program said cancer nurses recognise that people don’t just need support with cancer treatment but also for the way cancer impacts the rest of your life.

“We are incredibly proud of the impact our nurses have had over the past 18 years and look forward to working in partnership with the government to implement this once-in-a-generation opportunity to create equity in cancer care.”

The investment includes:

  • An additional $74.5 million to support more equitable access to cancer nurses.

Building on their well-established model, the McGrath Foundation will recruit 100 new cancer care nurses in health and hospital services across the country to support all people with cancer regardless of their tumour type. These nurses will be in addition to the existing 148 Commonwealth-funded melanoma, breast and lung cancer nurses who will work together to support all cancers by 2026-27, resulting in almost 250 Commonwealth-funded cancer care nurses by 2027, delivered through the McGrath Foundation.

  • An additional $21.2M (bringing the total funding to $35.4M over four years to 2026-27) to continue support for existing prostate cancer nurses delivered by the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.
  • $49.6 million for a new Cancer Navigation Service led by Cancer Council Australia, connecting people with cancer to information and support relevant to their needs.
  • $32.1 million for telehealth support services delivered by nongovernment cancer organisations tailored to the unique needs of people with cancer.
  • $9.4 million to continue the Child and Youth Cancer Hub led by Canteen in collaboration with Camp Quality and Redkite. Funding of $2.1 million will also support the continuation of vital counselling services provided via Canteen Connect.
  • The Government is also investing $16.5 million for a Cancer Patient Support Program to fund initiatives that will drive better outcomes for patients in priority populations and those with less common types of cancer.

The Federal Government said these investments built on its other significant investments such as the establishment of a National Lung Cancer Screening Program, and supporting the Aboriginal and Community Controlled Health Organisation sector to support cancer care needs of First Nations people on the Ground.

Minister for health and Aged Care Mark Butler said cancer nurses are invaluable to patients who are confronting some of their toughest days.

“The Albanese Government is investing in our trusted nursing workforce to provide more comprehensive care to people with cancer and help them navigate the health system.”

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