18 December 2023

South Western Sydney GPs have embraced the Early Breast Cancer Survivorship Shared Care Program which kicked off in early December.

Twelve GPS agreed to be a part of the SWSPHN-commissioned program in its first week of operation.

The program offers a tailored approach to shared care through a breast cancer CNC (cancer nurse coordinator).

The process is:

  • Cancer service identifies breast cancer survivors suitable for shared care
  • The cancer nurse coordinator discusses it with the woman and gets consent. CNC then contacts the woman’s regular GP and gets their consent to provide shared care
  • The CNC supports the GP to provide shared care, with regular cancer follow-ups completed alternately by the hospital and GP. Eventually it is just the GP completing the follow-ups

The cancer nurse coordinator also acts as an escalation point if there are medical complications.

The Early Breast Cancer Survivorship Shared Care Program evolved out of work the SWSPHN did in 2019 with Cancer Australia regarding the development of national clinical guidance for early breast cancer survivorship shared care processes.

It also looked at the SWSLHD Cancer Services’ shared care pilot CISCO (centralised specialist cancer survivorship assessment clinic) for patients with early breast cancer (or DCIS).

In July, SWSPHN commissioned SWSLHD to fund a breast cancer CNC to implement a shared care model for the region. GPs may be contacted to provide shared care.

The initial pilot will focus on the Macarthur region, however, if interest is good there are plans to expand into Liverpool and Fairfield and also include other tumour groups.

The program will initially operate until 30 June 2025.