The purpose of the optimal care pathways (OCPs) is to improve patient outcomes by facilitating consistent and evidence-based care for each cancer type. The pathways reflect the fact that people affected by cancer experience the cancer journey across the whole health system and that they need to receive services in an appropriate and coordinated manner. The DHHS commissioned the Cancer Council Victoria to produce the optimal care pathways; they have become the standard of cancer care across Australia.

So far we have done OCP implementation work in:

  • Colorectal cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Oesophagogastric cancer

work is currently underway in:

  • Head & neck cancer
  • Pancreas cancer


We use targeted clinical audits, supported by large hospital datasets and the Victorian Cancer Registry (VCR) data to understand the current patterns of care. Improvement projects relate to specific elements of the care pathway that have been identified through the Victorian Tumour Summits program. Priorities could include reduction in the delay from diagnosis to treatment and ensuring appropriate and timely referral to palliative care services. 

The current focus is on pancreas and head & neck cancer pathways. Appropriate and timely referral to palliative care services will cross additional tumour types.

For further information about this program area contact Carmel Vermeltfoort 

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