World-first research into Australians' supportive care needs

Tuesday 27 April, 2021


Cancer nurse on call with headset

Over one million Australians currently live with cancer – and the emotional, physical and financial burden it carries. Yet despite its prevalence, over 50 per cent report their supportive care needs are not being adequately addressed.

Cancer Council Victoria is committed to reducing the impact of cancer, which is why we have partnered with Deakin University to investigate the importance and efficacy of nurse-led telephone cancer information and support services (CISS). It is the first research of its kind to be conducted worldwide.

“Cancer diagnosis and treatment is improving, and this means there are more Australians living with cancer and its effects,” explained Dr Nikki McCaffrey, Health Economist and Senior Research Fellow at Deakin University, who is leading the research project.

“Operated by experienced cancer nurses, Cancer Council Victoria’s 13 11 20 is a very important service, providing health, social, emotional and practical support, like navigating the health system or accessing financial support.”

“Our world-first research will look at the costs and benefits – health, economic and social – of the telephone information and support service currently being offered by Cancer Council Victoria and determine how it can be even more effective,” she continued.

 Dr Nikki McCaffrey

Deakin University's Dr Nikki McCaffrey is leading the research project. 


Cancer Council Victoria’s Head of Cancer Information and Support Services, Katherine Lane, believes the research is critical to demonstrating the value of 13 11 20, which not only supports people affected by cancer, but the broader community as well.

“This globally significant research will help ensure we are promoting and delivering the right support and care, and that the resources and information available are best meeting and representing the needs of people affected by cancer,” she said.

“Importantly, we will also identify strategies to reach people with limited access to cancer services, including those with disadvantaged backgrounds and who live in rural and remote regions,” she continued. 

The research, entitled Defining and optimising the economic and social return on investment of telephone cancer information and support services for all Australians, is funded by a grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council.

While there will be a focus on Cancer Council Victoria’s 13 11 20 information and support line, findings will be shared nationally to inform the direction and delivery of services and future funding levels needed to improve cancer outcomes across Australia.

Various methods will be implemented to collect data and determine results, including cost-benefit analysis, focus groups, surveys and phone calls, among others.


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