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Optimal Care Pathways

The optimal care pathways describe a model of cancer care that puts the patient at the centre of care decisions. They describe a national standard of high-quality cancer care that all Australians should expect. 

The optimal care pathways aim to improve patient outcomes through promoting quality cancer care and ensuring that all people diagnosed with cancer receive the best care, irrespective of where they live or receive cancer treatment.

They map the patient journey, provide an understanding of the whole pathway​, from diagnosis, through treatment and beyond, to promote quality cancer care and improve patient experiences. 

As Victoria’s cancer services improvement network, the Integrated Cancer Services (ICS) work with partner health services to address variations against the OCPs ​and improve the outcomes for patients.  

The optimal care pathways are endorsed by Cancer Australia, the former National Cancer Expert Reference Group (a committee that reported to the former Australian Health Ministers Advisory Committee and, through this committee, to the former Council of Australian Governments Health Council) and all states and territories.


The optimal care pathways have Australia-wide acceptance and government support. The optimal care pathways are being implemented nationally.

The optimal care pathways are available in their full version or as guides to best cancer care on the Cancer Council Victoria website.

Optimal Care Pathways

These detailed guides support clinicians to provide cancer care that puts the patient at the centre of care decisions.

There are individual guides for 15 tumour streams and a guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to facilitate the delivery of culturally safe and competent care.

Guides to best cancer care

These short guides are patient resources to help understand the optimal cancer care that should be provided at each step of the pathways.


Carers, family and friends may also find them helpful.

‘Guides to best cancer care ’ are available as PDFs in English, Plain English and translation into multiple languages.

I-PACED (Implementing Pathways for Cancer Early Diagnosis) resources

I-PACED highlight recommendations in the OCPs and provide information about prevention, early detection, initial investigation and referral pathways. These resources were developed with an aim to assist GPs about critical primary care points and the recommended care that should be offered. Refer to the resource cards for:

Complementary OCP resources developed by
the Victorian Integrated Cancer Services
bowel cancer
Cancer in any part of the large bowel (such as the colon or rectum)
Lead ICS:
head and neck cancers
Cancers that occur inside the sinuses, nose, mouth and salivary glands down through the throat
Lead ICS:
lung cancer
Cancer that starts in lung tissue
Lead ICS:
pancreatic cancer
Cancer of the pancreas
Lead ICS:
prostate cancer
Cancer of the prostate (men)
Lead ICS:
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