Optimal Care Pathways

The optimal care pathways (OCPs) describe optimal cancer care. 


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 National Cancer Expert Reference Group (a committee that reports to the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Committee and, through this committee, to the Council of Australian Governments Health Council) and all states and territories.


The optimal care pathways have Australia-wide acceptance and government support and are being implemented nationally. The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services commissioned Cancer Council Victoria to conduct a review of the Optimal Care Pathways. The review is currently underway and expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021. 

Guides to best cancer care
(Patient resource)

These short guides help patients understand the optimal cancer care that should be provided at each step and can be used to complement the clinical OCPs. Carers, family and friends may also find them helpful.

‘What to expect guides’ are located on an interactive web portal, with downloadable 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:

Prostate and oesophagogastric I-PACED eLearning modules are based on common patient presentations in general practice and focus on imparting the necessary skills and knowledge to enable GPs to provide current evidence-based care to their patients. These free modules include case studies, tools and resources that highlight recommendations in the OCPs and provide information about prevention, early detection, initial investigation and referral pathways. For access to these modules, they are available on Cancer Council website and you can use the button below to access it.

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: