Rapid Fire Session 2014 World Cancer Congress

Making the law work better for people affected by cancer (#455)

Sondra Davoren 1 2 3 , Deborah Lawson 1 3 , Jonathan Liberman 1
  1. McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, Carlton, VIC, Australia
  2. Strategy and Support Division, Cancer Council Victoria, Carlton, VIC, Australia
  3. Cancer Council Victoria, Carlton, Vic, Australia

Background and Context: Cancer Council Victoria’s McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, and Strategy and Support Division, with funding from the Legal Services Board of Victoria’s major grants program, are examining the intersection of law and policy, and cancer treatment and supportive care.  

Aim: The aim of this project is to make the law work better for people affected by cancer, by analysing the laws and policies that impact on cancer treatment and supportive care, developing education materials about legal rights and responsibilities, and through law reform.

Strategy/Tactics:With input from Cancer Council Victoria’s Clinical Network and expert stakeholders, we developed a list of key topics. In 2013, we looked at:

  • Financial support for travelling for treatment;
  • Insurance discrimination, including the use of genetic information;
  • Employment-related issues for people working or returning to work while undergoing cancer treatment, or having finished active treatment;
  • Advance care planning, particularly uncertainty among patients and health professionals about laws governing end-of-life decision making. 

Programme/Policy Process:We published a discussion paper, ran a series of events, consulted with key stakeholders, and circulated an online survey to the Breast Cancer Network of Australia’s Review and Survey Group. Using responses to the discussion paper and consultation feedback, we published a major report and developed fact sheets for patients, carers and health professionals.

Outcomes/What was learned:This presentation highlights the achievements and outcomes from the project’s first year, including education sessions for regional general physicians about advance care planning; an advocacy alliance to improve transport and accommodation support; the development of fact sheets and online materials on discrimination protection in insurance and employment; and recommendations for law reform and research on legal frameworks governing end-of-life decision-making.

 The presentation will also discuss future focus areas, including regulatory of complementary and alternative therapies; and informed consent in different settings.