Best practice & guidelines

Support and Guidance

Providing tools and resources to support health professionals provide evidence-based care is seen as essential to improve outcomes for people affected by lung cancer.  Cancer Australia plays an important role in supporting and guiding health professionals to improve outcomes for people affected by lung cancer.

Through the National Lung Cancer Program a number of projects have been funded to provide health professionals with evidence-based information and resources to assist with the delivery of evidence-based clinical and supportive care for people affected by lung cancer. 

Projects include:

  • Clinical Guidelines and guidance material for GPs
  • resources to help health professionals better support consumers
  • other educational support
  • improving clinical data and reporting

Clinical Guidelines and guidance material for GPs

  • Updating the 2004 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention, Diagnosis and Management of Lung Cancer

Cancer Australia is currently working in partnership with Cancer Council Australia and expert clinicians to update the 2004 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention, Diagnosis and Management of Lung Cancer, commencing with the treatment section.

The project will trial an innovative on line Wiki-based approach to update these guidelines. This methodology will increase the availability and accessibility of evidence-based lung cancer information for health professionals and allows guidelines to be readily updated in a cost effective and efficient manner as new evidence emerges.

The updated treatment section of the guidelines will be loaded onto the Wiki IT platform and will be available for general view and comment by early 2012. It is anticipated that over the next two years other sections of the guidelines will be updated using this technology. 

  • Investigating symptoms of lung cancer: a guide for general practitioners

The symptoms of lung cancer are often vague and can be very similar to other chronic lung conditions. This fact, when coupled with the fact that a GP sees only a very few people per year with lung cancer makes it difficult for GPs to appropriately identify people who may have lung cancer.

Cancer Australia has commissioned Monash University, in partnership with Cancer Council Australia, to undertake a two year project that will see the development of a Guide and a National Directory of Multidisciplinary Care to assist GPs to assess and refer people with symptoms of lung cancer to specialist multidisciplinary teams for ongoing treatment and management. These resources will be complemented by the development of educational and training resources for GPs. 

  • Spaced Education Module

The Workforce Education and Development Group at the University of Sydney will develop a Spaced Education module for GPs for the management of people with symptoms of lung cancer. This education resource will be located on the Cancer Learning website and will complement the Guide for GPs on investigating symptoms of lung cancer currently in development by Monash University.

Spaced Education is an emerging model of learning shown to improve retention of clinical knowledge (Kerfoot et al, 2007). It consists of weekly emailed scenarios and clinical questions which are spaced and repeated over time.

Resources to assist health professionals better support consumers

The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre has been funded by Cancer Australia to translate the consumer information DVD Lung Cancer: Understanding, Managing, Living into twelve languages other than English.

Cancer Australia was one of a number of organisations that provided support for the initial development of this resource, which has now been translated into: Greek, Italian, Cantonese, Arabic, Chinese Mandarin, Vietnamese, Malay, Farsi, Turkish, Macedonian, Croatian and Serbian. This resource will support health professionals provide information to people who are not fluent in English, who are affected by lung cancer.

Copies of this resource can be obtained by contacting The Australian Lung Foundation or by visiting the Kylie Johnston Lung Cancer Network .

The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre is also undertaking a review of consumer resources currently available to assist health professionals support people affected by lung cancer. This project will identify appropriate evidence-based consumer resources and ensure that these resources are available through The Australian Lung Foundation website.

Other initiatives supporting health professionals

Support for nurses to attend the 14th World Conference on Lung Cancer

Nurses play an important role in the management and support of people with lung cancer. Cancer Australia and the Australian Lung Foundation are keen to build the capacity of Australian nurses and develop clinical nurse leaders to support people with lung cancer.

With this in mind Cancer Australia and the Australian Lung Foundation have supported five nurses to attend the 14th World Conference on Lung Cancer that will be held in Amsterdam in early July. The following nurses were successful in securing a travel fellowship to attend this conference:

  • Jocelyn McLean from New South Wales
  • Alexander Butcher from the Northern Territory
  • Cassandra Fayle from Queensland
  • Joy Hills from Tasmania
  • Paula Nelson from Victoria

The learning and experiences of these nurses will be shared and disseminated via the lung cancer nursing network and will contribute to the success of the 15th World Congress on Lung Cancer to be held in Sydney in 2013.