About the OCP web application

Download to your device

Instructions to save the Optimal Care Pathways web application as a readily accessible icon on your smart device’s (phone/tablet) home screen or computer desktop are provided below.

For Android:

  1. Tap the menu icon in your browser (normally found in the top right-hand corner of the screen) and tap ‘Add to home screen’.
  2. Enter a name for the shortcut (e.g. ‘Optimal Care Pathways’) and tap ‘Add’. An icon for the app will be added to your phone’s home screen.

For iPhone or iPad:

  1. (From Safari) Tap the up-pointing arrow at the bottom of the Safari window (a drop-down menu will open).
  2. Tap ‘Add to Home Screen’.
  3. Enter a name for the shortcut (e.g. ‘Optimal Care Pathways’) and tap ‘Add’. An icon for the app will be added to your phone/tablet’s home screen.

For Computer Desktop (Internet Explorer/Chrome/Firefox):

  1. With the ‘Optimal Care Pathways’ web app open in your browser, ensure the browser is NOT full screen (You will need to be able to see your desktop for the next steps).
  2. Highlight the web address (URL) in the browser’s address bar.
  3. Click and drag the highlighted text to an area of your computer’s desktop (an icon will appear as you drag your cursor).
  4. Release the icon onto your desktop. When you click on this shortcut, the website will open in your browser.

Welcome and introduction

On behalf of the optimal care pathways team, welcome to the second edition of the optimal care pathway guides to better cancer care.

Some cancers are simple to treat; many are complex. But the principles of high-quality care are similar for all cancers and, if followed, are likely to achieve the best outcomes for patients and their families and carers.

Australia has an excellent healthcare system, but the pathway for cancer patients can be complex. Often multiple health professionals are involved and both public and private types of health care are used. Our cancer survival rates are as good as anywhere in the world, but many patients still report difficulties during their care and, importantly, outcomes among different groups vary across the country.

That’s why we have developed the optimal care pathways. The optimal care pathways describe an integrated model of cancer care that puts the patient’s needs first, along with the best of technical care. They provide a national standard for the high-quality cancer care that all Australians should expect. We all believe when it comes to cancer care, our patients and their families deserve the best care available.

The optimal care pathways should be read and understood by all those involved in cancer care. This includes all health professionals, from surgeons, oncologists, haematologists, radiologists, general practitioners and other doctors to allied health professionals, nurses and managers of cancer services. Trainees in all disciplines should absorb the messages contained in the optimal care pathways.

We also recommend the optimal care pathways to all people affected by cancer, both patients and carers. We encourage you to use the optimal care pathways to guide discussions with your healthcare team and to help you make informed decisions about what’s right for you. There is a specific optimal care pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, while the Guides to best cancer care for consumers are available in eight languages.

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.

It’s important to note that the optimal care pathways are cancer pathways, not clinical practice guidelines. The decision about ‘what’ treatment is given is a professional responsibility and will usually be based on current evidence, clinical practice guidelines and the patients’ preferences.

The optimal care pathways were updated in 2020, at a time when the global COVID-19 pandemic was challenging the Australian healthcare sector in an unprecedented way. The pandemic led to rapid practice change, including greater uptake of telehealth. Where appropriate, learnings have informed the review of the pathways.

I would like to thank everyone involved for their generous contribution to the development and revision of the optimal care pathways. This includes many health professionals (noted in the optimal care pathways) and the strong support of federal and state governments.

Professor Robert J S Thomas OAM

Chair, Optimal Care Pathways Project Steering Committee


Endorsed by


Statement of Acknowledgement

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to the land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures and to Elders past, present and emerging.

This work is available from the Cancer Council website.

Enquiries about this publication can be sent to optimalcare.pathways@cancervic.org.au.

Privacy Policy

Optimal Care Pathways is committed to providing quality services to you and this policy outlines our ongoing obligations to you in respect of how we manage user information.

We have adopted the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) contained in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (the Privacy Act). The APPs govern the way in which we collect, use, disclose, store, secure and dispose of this information. A copy of the Australian Privacy Principles may be obtained from the website of The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner at www.aoic.gov.au. Our platform provider aligns with GDPR on data protection and privacy.

Personal and Non-Personal Information

Personal Information is information or an opinion that identifies an individual. This site will not collect any information that can be used to identify users. Non-Personal Information we do collect is limited exclusively to anonymous pop-up survey data (satisfaction with site usage and occupation) and anonymised commonly used site analytics (anonymous information about site use including length of visit, pages visited, and other metrics to inform ongoing site maintenance and analysis of general site use). This information is also intended for use in research relating to OCP use.

We don’t guarantee other websites links or policy of authorised third parties.

Security of Information

Collected Information is stored in a manner that reasonably protects it from misuse and loss and from unauthorized access, modification or disclosure.
When this anonymous information is no longer needed for the purpose for which it was obtained, reasonable steps to destroy this Information will be taken.

Policy Updates

This Policy may change from time to time and is available on our website.