A new resource encouraging cancer patients to take control of their treatment launched at Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre on Friday.
What to Expect is a series of 19 tumour-specific guides designed to help patients better understand the steps and recommended standards of care at each stage of treatment.
The resource follows the release of data from the Department of Health and Human Services, which shows the number of patients accessing radiotherapy treatment in the Grampians region is below the state average.
Radiation oncologist Simone Reeves said using the resource before consultation would enable doctors to partner with patients and engage in discussions about the best suited treatment options.
“It lays out what the spectrum of options might be in a very clear and understandable way and really does empower people to take control of their own healthcare and make the decisions that are right for them,” she said.
“I think it will help with confidence for patients because it can be very difficult when you first come into contact with the health profession, often you don’t have any prior knowledge or understanding of the elements you’re going to be confronted with.”
Leonie Bird, who has undergone treatment for breast cancer and bone cancer, praised the launch of the guides.
“As a patient if you’ve got an understanding of what’s going to happen and what options you may have, you may make a different decision and choose a different pathway that will suit you,” she said.
Ms Bird believed the resource would have made a difference to her if it had been available.
“If I had realised when I was suffering back pain that bone cancer was one of the secondaries to breast, I think I would have presented perhaps 12 or 18 months prior to when I did,” she said.
“It will provide cancer patients with opportunities to have an understanding of what they’re about to go through and also treatments, but most of all, when they first present to their oncologist or radiologist, they will have key questions that they feel comfortable to ask.”
The What to Expect resource is now available at www.cancerpathways.org.au.
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