An increase in the incidence rate of cancer in Australia has raised grave concern for addressing the need for analysis of the government implemented polices in various state as well as national run programs for prevention and education of cancer. This report will entail needs assessment for cancer control service and understanding of best approaches for needs analysis. It shall also briefly provide statistics of cancer prevalence in Australia based on evidence-based literature till the year 2017 and SWOT analysis of cancer prevention programs by the government implemented by the Australian government.
Statistics (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018).
The definition of Cancer control encompasses the actions which help to decrease the burden of cancer on the healthcare system by impacting the community. It involves various factors of care such as early detection and intervention, decreasing risk factors, providing adequate education and increasing patient or community awareness; using evidence-based researches to help the patients to obtain better outcomes. bridging the gap between the aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities in terms of access of medical health care facilities and decreasing the disparity in treatment for all people in Australia by making healthcare affordable (Fox et al., 2017).
The healthcare system of Australia is very complex. The Federal Government of Australia pays the healthcare system such as the hospital through the medical services as per the established Medicare system. It also took responsibility for conducting screenings and routine mammograms for women who are at high risk of developing breast or cervical cancer through government cancer screening program. The government of Australia also provides benefits to cancer patients under the “Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme”, and few other government’s funded schemes cover radiotherapy services, palliative as well as aged care. The Nation’s State and Territory Governments are responsible for providing effective healthcare services to the Australian population and they are publicly funded with private services as well as by various health insurance companies. The “Cancer care and cancer control”, has generous funding and support from non-government as well as voluntary non-profit organizations, till the year 2017, especially pertaining to the aspects such as providing education, counselling, financial help to the carers and families of the cancer patients for the purpose of the treatment as well as the for living in case of the patients who were primary bread winners of the family (Innes-Walker & Edwards, 2013).
The report shared by Health For All Australians endorses few suggestions and goals pertaining to the 5 primary cancers which contribute to increase mortality in Australia (Dasgupta et al., 2017). These recommendations and strategies proposed by the “Australian Cancer Society” is a fragment of the National Cancer Prevention Policy for Australia. The suggested strategies included: 1) Routine mammograms and screening programs for breast early detection breast cancer. 2) Establishing a population-based “cervical cancer screening program” which includes funding for reaching out to the target population at regular intervals; ensuring routine follow ups of the patient, assurance of quality of care provided, epidemiological research along with effective evaluation of the program (Fox et al, 2017). Utilizing “call and recall systems” to increase the participation of eligible women for the purpose of research based on cervical screening 4)Increasing means for education and continuous education programs for public as well as professions in the field of cancer (Fox et al., 2017), 5) Enhancing the options for collecting of smears. 6) Suggestions for skin cancer included encouraging people to have less exposure to sun from 10 am to 2 pm; adequate use of sunscreen while being outdoors for work; decreasing in the tax on effective products such as medicated sunscreen lotion and increasing the recommendations of the same by the pharma companies or the healthcare providers (Petersen &Alexander, 2013).
The assessment of needs approach are basically categorized into three, the first is the perceived needs, which is defined by the thoughts of the people regarding their needs; the expressed need, which is demonstrated by the services which people use, and third category is the relative needs which are those needs which are absolute needs and vary depending upon the circumstances. For the purpose of “cancer control service”, the needs analysis approach of expressed needs is the best approach, because in healthcare, the use of services is dependent on the needs expressed by the patients and the medical symptoms they produce (Mosher et al., 2013). The needs analysis helps in identifying the gaps to be addressed for providing quality of healthcare service, and is gathered by various multidisciplinary approach such as involvement of a medical oncologists, radio oncologist, nurse, psychologist, nutritionist, physical therapist in determining different needs of the cancer patients and providing holistic care. At the national level this approach can be used by conducting an evidence-based epidemiological research in women cancer survivors and asking them if their needs have been met (Mosher et al., 2013). The data collected should be analyzed and reveal a few basic needs on cancer patients which will help in guiding the healthcare community to take steps in the right direction for reforming the manner in which the care is delivered and also help train the new medical nurses and graduates to develop the same skills (Wilson et al., 2018).
The challenges with undertaking needs analysis is lack of adequate time. The cancer patients struggle usually struggle with mental issues, such as depression and anxiety which comes with the news of cancer diagnosis. They have very less time for surveys and interviews as they juggle between various therapy sessions and mood swings and most often are burdened with feelings of tiredness and fatigues as a result of treatments and their side effects. It causes notable inconsistency in establishing effective communication with the patients. Thus, at generic and inter-disciplinary levels the factors such as patient behavior, lack of time, resources all encompasses challenges attached to the field of cancer control, whereas, at the policy level the challenge is mainly time taken for policy makers to conduct relevant evidence-based researchers for project planning and implementation. (Oishi & Murtagh, 2014).
Strengths: The program is primarily run by the government, which means there is no lack of funding and resources for meeting the pressing needs of the cancer community. There is a huge stakeholder involvement and efficacy of work is ensured to complete the cancer control program as per the scheduled timing. The responsibility of routine follow-ups and screening of the elderly population as well as individuals who are at higher risk of cancer; will reduce the risk of developing cancer (Jacklyn et al., 2017; Stevens & Gillam, 1998).
Weaknesses: The time taken for implementing the project plan is too much as it involves bringing all the stakeholders to work in a collaborative manner; doing the research and forming a plan to be executed; collecting and allocation of the resources; time taken for policy making. Secondly, a lack of adequate access to medical facilities in the rural and remote areas (Kirshbaum et al., 2017).
Opportunities: This provides an opportunity for the government to interact with the community directly and understanding the needs and increasing the level of awareness and risk factors pertaining to cancer.
Threats: The threats include changes in the government leaders and economic situations of the country. External factors such as industrialization which pollute the air by cancer-causing elements, lack of efficiency of governmental policies to control cancer risk such as smoking (Palermo et al., 2012). Internal factors involved apprehension of the people to undertake screening out of natural fear of diagnosis of cancer.
These include identifying the needs of the patients, working with the cancer patients at the grass-root level to ensure they have access to the medical facilities and insurance coverage to sustain the financial need in the cancer treatment by funding obtained from the governmental as well as non-profit organizations. The priorities also include increasing the awareness of the community through the community healthcare plans and state or local council levels and educate them for the prevention and management of cancer. (Jacklyn et al., 2019)
Increased coverage of insurance
Lack of adequate medical facilities for rural and remote populations
Time consuming approaches
Access of medical facilities
Making healthcare affordable for all population
Reluctancy u=in undertaking screening
Economy of the nation to provide sufficient resources
Lack of education in the population
Various government implemented policies and procedures are in place for addressing the national need of preventing the risk of cancer in Australia. These include community health programs, for increasing awareness and education of cancer. The majority of high-risk cancers in Australia are prostate cancer, breast cancer (primarily in-situ), bowel or colorectal cancers and lastly lung cancer. National Cancer Prevention Policy for Australia has provided many efforts in the direction of implementing strategies such as environmental control for pollutants and regular cancer screening of individuals who are at high risk of cancer to reduce the burden on healthcare.
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