Keeping up with cancer care

Amanda Lyons

26/04/2019 11:24:38 AM

The Chair of the RACGP Breast Medicine Specific Interests network is working hard to stay up to date with a rapidly advancing field.

Dr Alia Kaderbhai.
Dr Alia Kaderbhai is working to increase her knowledge of cancer care so she can provide the best possible care for her patients.

GP Dr Alia Kaderbhai is among the first doctors in Australia to undertake a Masters of Cancer Sciences, a new degree at the University of Melbourne.
‘I am committed to improving the lives of patients diagnosed with cancer, and want to develop new and innovative ways to provide better care,’ she told newsGP.
Dr Kaderbhai is also keenly aware of the rapidly evolving nature of cancer care, as treatments and technologies continually develop and improve – a process that is impacting on the role of the GP.
‘GPs are dealing more and more, with regards to cancer patients, with cancer-related treatment effects as well as risk reduction,’ she said.
‘So GPs really are crucial members of a multidisciplinary team, and we need to be able to provide patient-centred care that is integrated into the community context.’
Dr Kaderbhai has found survivorship to be an increasingly important aspect of contemporary cancer care, as improvements in diagnosis and treatment have led to a greater likelihood of patients living with and beyond the disease.
‘Survivorship is a really growing area, it’s really becoming its own disease entity, and GPs are going to find their role in this area expanding quite rapidly,’ she said.
‘We need to be aware of the statistics and common presentations, common side-effects of treatment, short-term and long-term effects, so we can really optimise outcomes for patients.’
When an opportunity came up to further develop her knowledge with the Masters of Cancer Sciences, a new degree offered for the first time this year at the University of Melbourne in collaboration with the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC), Dr Kaderbhai could not let it go by.
‘The Masters is a new online program that focuses on the multidisciplinary approach for the future of cancer care,’ Dr Kaderbhai said. ‘World-class leading experts in the field have been recruited from the VCCC to coordinate the subject matter and provide lecture material. 
‘It’s really new and innovative, and it’s open to all specialists involved in the provision of cancer care and cancer research.’
When Dr Kaderbhai was offered one of 20 scholarships offered by VCCC Australia-wide, it was an opportunity she found ‘too good to turn down’. The course began in February this year, with an initial intake of around 50 students from within Australia and around the world, including specialists, allied health and, with Dr Kaderbhai’s participation, at least one GP.
Dr Kaderbhai said she has already learnt a lot from her time in the course, and is looking forward to continuing to broaden her knowledge.
‘The focus, in term one, has been on an advanced and integrated understanding of the biological processes that lead to cancer formation and propagation at a molecular, cellular and organ level, as well as how these biological processes can be targeted in cancer treatment,’ she said.
‘Other subjects in the course will focus on research, cancer in the political context and patient-centred decision-making.’
Dr Kaderbhai believes the course will help her and her patients move into a more cooperative future of cancer care.
‘I envisage the future of cancer care involving multidisciplinary teams, including GPs, that are linked together to use a shared-care approach, extending from prevention, diagnosis, active treatment and survivorship care,’ she said.
‘I think the knowledge and skills I will gain will allow me to effectively contribute to multidisciplinary teams in a growing cancer workforce, and will equip me with cutting-edge, specialist knowledge so I can provide my patients with optimal care.’

Cancer care Cancer survivorship Melbourne University Victoria Comprehensive Cancer Centre

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Ex Patient   28/04/2019 8:39:47 PM

Medicos keep working to expand the cancer pie to claim their piece.

The rear-view mirror and 'adios' were my choice and the patient's choice is the only thing that matters. Lack of GP proactivity and diagnostic failure by BreastScreen ensured the complete loss of this patient's trust in the medical industry.