Australian Comprehensive Cancer Network (ACCN) launches to revolutionise cancer care across the country

Cancer Australia

The landscape of cancer care in Australia is set to transform with the launch today of a new network which will link cancer services across Australia, aiming to improve cancer outcomes and experiences for all Australians affected by cancer.

The Australian Government announced the launch of the Australian Comprehensive Cancer Network (ACCN) at the Innovations Showcase event, hosted by Cancer Australia in Sydney, Australia.

While Australia boasts some of the world’s highest cancer survival rates, not all people experience equal outcomes. There are significant disparities in cancer outcomes for some populations, particularly affecting those in rural and remote regions, as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

In the 2023-24 Budget, the Albanese Government announced a record investment of nearly $750 million in cancer care, which included $263.8 million to introduce a National Lung Cancer Screening Program, $238.5 million to support achieving equity in overall cancer outcomes for First Nations people, $166 million for the Australian Cancer Nursing and Navigation Program, $48 million to implement the National Strategy for the Elimination of Cervical Cancer in Australia and $16 million for a Cancer Patient Support Program.

Building on this investment, last week’s budget announcements made by the Albanese Government include an additional $71 million investment to improve outcomes for all Australians affected by cancer, and a $1.89 billion investment in a once-in-a-generation transformation of health and medical research in Australia for the “Health Research for a Future Made in Australia” package. This package includes $1.4 billion from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) allocated to new research into the reduction of health system disparities and the tackling of cancers with low survival rates.

The ACCN is a pioneering initiative that aims to address these disparities, emphasising coordinated and equitable access to comprehensive cancer services irrespective of where a person lives, and marking a significant milestone in the advancement of cancer care in Australia.

Comprehensive Cancer Centres (CCCs) will serve as anchors in the ACCN, connecting various cancer control services nationwide. Through building partnerships and harnessing virtual connectivity, CCCs will collaborate with other cancer care centres, academic institutions, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, regional hospitals and allied health services, among others.

The ACCN is a major action of the 10-year Australian Cancer Plan, launched in 2023 to improve cancer outcomes for all Australians, particularly for those groups whose health outcomes are poorest. Achieving equity in cancer outcomes is a fundamental measure of success for the Australian Cancer Plan and will align Australia with global calls to improve cancer outcomes for all people.

Participation in the ACCN is voluntary, with services committing to a set of standards focusing on comprehensive cancer care, equitable access, research excellence, data collection, workforce development, and network connectivity. Importantly, the ACCN will complement existing networks and alliances within the cancer care landscape, fostering collaboration and maximising resources.

All services and professionals involved in cancer care are encouraged to join the ACCN and contribute to this transformative initiative.

The launch of the ACCN was announced at the ACCN Innovations Showcase, a hybrid in-person and online conference organised by Cancer Australia to highlight and discuss topics including best practice and the standards of excellence for networked comprehensive cancer care.

/Public Release.