SUPPORTIVE CARE NETWORK
The Union for International Cancer Control and Cancer Council Queensland launched the UICC Supportive Care Network on the occassion of the World Cancer Leaders' Summit in November 2015. The Network's goal is to promote the provision of the evidence-based supportive care to improve quality of life for cancer patients worldwide, accelerating progress towards attainment of the UICC's World Cancer Declaration. The Network offers a multi-media portal exploring the latest evidence on supportive care theories and practice, harnessing the potential of emerging technologies to strenghten cost-effective collaborations in supportive care. It will also elaborate on ways to build the capacity of supportive care systems and practices to improve the lived experience of cancer survivors worldwide. The Network aims to engage cancer organisations, planners, researcers, and policy-makers in discussion, facilitating access to information, resources and case studies to improve cancer control.
About 14 million new cases of cancer are diagnoses worldwide each year, with almost 32.5 million people alive in 2012 who had been diagnosed with cancer in the previous five years. Evidence suggests a significant number of people with a lived experience of cancer have unmet informational, psychological, and physical needs which can be effectively addressed through supportive care interventions. Supportive care can broadly be defined as services which address a patient's informational, emotional, spiritual, social or physical needs during diagnostic, treatment, or follow-up stages of cancer. Supportive care theories and practice concern issues of health promotion and prevention, survivorship, palliation, and bereavement, and can be categorised as primary, secondary, or tertiary care depending on the level of specialization.
MEETING THE CHALLENGE
Today, much work remains to integrate best-practice supportive care into routine cancer control practice on a worldwide scale, leveraging from partnerships and collaborations between groups such as the UICC and others. Closer cooperation between non-governmental organisations, international associations, health policy makers, medical professoinal, government bodies and civil socity is key to future progress. Emphasis must be placed on communication and collaboration, across disciplines and sectors, in order to acheve higher standards of quality supportive care.The UICC's ICCP Supportive Care Network will play a prominent role in facilitating this process.
The Network will have four main sub-groups, focused on psycho-onoclogy, peer support, medical care, and community engagement. The Network portal will assist cancer planners, governments and advocated with demonstrating the supportive care needs to people affected by cancer, building the capacity of supportive care systems and practices, implementing supportive care screening into routine practice, and addressing supportive care needs through referrals and systemic integration.