As cancer survival rates improve worldwide, there’s a growing need for better information and support for survivors. Particularly in Greater China, Australia’s expertise in cancer survivorship care offers an opportunity for mutual learning and growth surrounding monitoring cancer recurrence, detection of new cancers and management of long-term effects associated with cancer treatment.
Transitioning from cancer treatment to survivorship brings its own set of challenges, especially in regions with large populations like Greater China. Recognising these challenges, one of the Cancer Survivorship Program’s research initiatives, known as the ‘AC2 Project,’ aims to bridge the gap between Australia and Greater China in advancing cancer care survivorship.
We spoke to Dr Jane Lee, working with Professor Raymond Chan who is leading the AC2 Project which aims to create accessible and innovative shared resources for patients, professionals as well as the public. These resources will foster continuous partnerships among researchers, healthcare providers, and policymakers in both Australia and Greater China enhancing engagement in major cities like Hong Kong.
The project involves collaborations between universities, professional bodies and consumer groups including:
- Flinders University;
- LKS Faculty of Medicine, Jockey Club Institute of Cancer Care, The University of Hong Kong; Hong Kong, SAR, China;
- Breast Surgery Division, Department of Surgery, The University of Hong Kong-ShenZhen Hospital, LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, SAR, China;
- LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong;
- Can Revive;
- Clinical Oncology Society of Australia;
- Chinese Cancer and Chronic Illness Society (CCCIS);
- University of Sydney;
- Australian Centre for Cancer Survivorship (ACSC);
- Shaanxi Normal University;
- Hangzhou Normal University (HZNU); and
- National Cheng Kung University (NCKU).
“This project has been funded by the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations (NFACR), awarding Flinders University $300,000,” said Dr Lee, research fellow in the CSP team.
The Hong Kong University Jockey Club Institute of Cancer Care and a local TV Broadcaster are also producing a supporting documentary to raise awareness about medical issues facing cancer survivors.
Dr Lee explains, “Designed to air on a major network in Hong Kong, this documentary offers a glimpse into the challenges and triumphs of cancer survivorship care and serves as a tool for public education and engagement.”
The AC2 Project’s goal is to develop resources that can be culturally adapted and translated to cater to the needs of both Australian and Chinese cancer survivors. Although the project is still in its early stages, collaboration with academic and consumer groups is already in progress to ensure the best practices are identified.
“Knowledge dissemination is a key aspect in building better lives, better communities, better care and better systems across the population,” Dr Lee said. “By informing practices, influencing policies, and changing behaviours, this initiative empowers patients, professionals, and the public alike.”
The research’s long-term impact lies in raising awareness as the initial step towards changing medical care practices, policies, and behaviours.
As our understanding of cancer improves and survival rates increase, attention shifts to helping individuals adjust to life after diagnosis and treatment. This might lead to changes in healthcare services to better suit evolving population needs. The research suggests that some effective practices could involve patients managing their care. By offering a platform that informs patients, professionals, and the public, the research empowers these groups to take better care of themselves and others in their lives.