From Surviving to Thriving with Cancer

A practitioner standing next to an older man on an exercise bike .

With advances in medical cancer treatment and the survival rate at an all-time high, work is now underway to support people who’ve survived cancer, to thrive and live well with a cancer diagnosis.

People affected by cancer are now managing their disease and long-term side effects, in similar ways to a chronic illness such as diabetes, asthma or Alzheimer’s disease.

Led by Carrington Health, the Cancer Survivorship project is in its third year and is going from strength to strength. Some of the keys to success are its delivery in a warm and welcoming community-based setting and people only begin the program when they are physically and emotionally ready and able.

When the time is right a tailored plan is developed in discussion with the individual, based on their unique circumstance. A Care Coordinator discusses their needs, identifies any priority areas for support and designs a staged approach to care. At all times the person receiving care has the final say in their care plan and is at the centre of decision-making.

“For decades community health services have been leading the development of integrated models of care for chronic disease management,” explains Project Manager, Rebecca McIntosh. “We’ve taken this experience to now offer cancer survivors the services they need, when and where they need it, including physiotherapy, diet and nutrition, psychology and more.”

The aim is to improve the quality of life, physical fitness, wellbeing, mental health, mobility, functioning, and nutrition of people with a cancer diagnosis, and to reduce any fatigue and pain.

The project is now at an exciting stage. The partnership is expanding to include Access Health and Community and Inspiro Health, to provide Cancer Survivorship support to their communities.

project Manager Rebecca McIntosh sitting in a room speaking to another woman

Image: Project Manager Rebecca McIntosh

The ‘Good Life – Cancer Survivorship’ project is a collaborative service development between Carrington Health, Eastern Health Acute Oncology Services and North Eastern Metropolitan Integrated Cancer Services (NEMICS) with funding provided by the Victorian Government.