BreaCan aims to make the service accessible and relevant to women from all walks of life. As such, from time to time, BreaCan initiates special projects and programs. These projects are often in collaboration with other cancer services and hospitals, and reach out to groups that are marginalised or whose needs are difficult to meet as part of the mainstream health and supportive care system.

Current Projects

Connecting and Supporting Rural and Regional Women with Cancer

BreaCan is currently working in partnership with Barwon South Western Region Integrated Cancer Service and Grampians Integrated Cancer Service on a pilot project to improve the availability of information and support to women affected by cancer in rural and regional areas of Victoria.

The Victorian Department of Health (now the Department of Health and Human Services) has funded the pilot project, after we showed a need for a greater level of support services for women affected by cancer in rural and regional areas of Victoria.

We will be asking local services and community members how best to provide information and support to women affected by cancer. Our aim is to develop a model of information and support that can be rolled out across rural and regional communities in Victoria.

We understand that women diagnosed with cancer who live outside metropolitan Melbourne are less likely to have access to the support and information services they need, so we’ll be working closely with local communities to make recommendations for a new model which will make a real difference to the lives of women living with cancer. This pilot project also provides a fantastic opportunity for women who have experienced cancer to give back to their community.

Western Central Melbourne Integrated Cancer Services Endometrial Cancer Survivorship Project

In collaboration with The Royal Women’s Hospital, Inner North West Melbourne Medicare Local and Western and Central Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service, BreaCan is involved in an Endometrial Cancer Survivorship Program. BreaCan is providing a consumer perspective to this project which will help to provide a proof of concept in relation to early stage endometrial cancer recovery.

The goal is to develop, implement and evaluate a model of survivorship care which actively involves women and their GPs. It is anticipated that this model of care will result in better coordinated and individualised health care planning and management, and better educated and empowered patients.

More information about this project can be found here.

Past Projects

Victorian Cancer Survivorship Project – December 2011 to November 2013

BreaCan was a partner in a two year project funded by the Victorian Department of Health as part of the Victorian Cancer Survivorship Program. The project was undertaken in collaboration with the Breast Service of the Royal Melbourne and Royal Women’s Hospitals, Western Health and the Inner North West Melbourne Medicare Local.

The goal of the project was to develop, implement and evaluate a model of survivorship care as part of the government funded Victorian Cancer Survivorship Program. The twin objectives were to improve the quality of care for women completing treatment for early breast cancer at the Royal Melbourne and Royal Women’s Breast Service and Western Health Breast Service, while reducing the intensity of hospital-based care to create greater capacity for new patients.

This ‘codesign’ project successfully incorporated women’s voices and has been extended to other treatment centres and tumour streams. It has provided key learnings to the sector and several conference presentations have helped to circulate the findings more broadly.

The final report for this project can be found here.

Information and support for women from culturally and linguistically diverse groups

In 2012, Cancer Australia called for submissions to their “Supporting People with Cancer Grant Initiative Program”. BreaCan, in collaboration with Western Health, successfully secured funds from this initiative to increase information and support for women from culturally and linguistically diverse groups.

Focusing on the information and support needs for Vietnamese women with a breast or gynaecological cancer, the project aimed to create a comprehensive best practice community model of information and support that could be implemented with other minority groups.

Key outcomes of the project included:

  • Developing and integrating sustainable approaches for engaging diverse groups, commencing with Vietnamese women in the Western Health community.
  • Building and strengthening linkages for women affected by breast and gynaecological cancers within the Victorian Vietnamese community to develop culturally appropriate quality information and support resources, including mechanisms for improved access to community support.
  • Developing a best practice culturally appropriate community service model that engages consumers, the acute sector and the local diverse community to respond to local needs.
  • Drawing on the best practice community-based model to translate to other cultural groups.

Resources developed from this project can be found here.