Primary health care practitioners play an important role in providing care for patients both before and after a cancer diagnosis. There are many resources available to support primary health care practitioners and patients including Optimal Care Pathways.

What are Optimal Care Pathways?

Optimal Care Pathways (OCPs) provide guidance on how to best care for patients with specific types of cancers. Each pathway describes key stages in a patient’s cancer journey, from diagnosis to survivorship or end-of-life care.

The OCP is patient-centric and maps the expected ideal care for each stage of the journey. It is designed to support patients no matter where they live or what level of treatment they receive. As such, the pathways are of particular benefit to patients living in rural or remote areas.

OCPs are available for 15 cancer types and have been developed in consultation with clinical experts. For each pathway there is a:

  • Detailed clinical pathway for cancer specialists, health professionals and health service administrators
  • Quick reference guide to familiarise GPs and primary care providers with the care pathway
  • Patient ‘what to expect’ guide to assist patients and people affected by cancer understand all stages of the care pathway.

An OCP guide specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer is also available.

Accessing the Pathways

Western Victoria PHN (WVPHN) is working with local integrated cancer support services to ensure Optimal Care Pathways are part of standard practice across all services. For more details, please refer to:

You can also access each OCP and other resource materials via the Cancer Council Victoria website

Care planning

A General Practitioner Management Plan (GPMP) can be used to cover all considerations when creating a care plan for a patient living with cancer.

The Cancer Supportive Care GPMP template is available for download. If a patient has another chronic disease, it may be easier to copy and paste the cancer-related sections into their existing care plan.


Best Practice Medical Director ZedMed
Download BP (RTF 82KB) Download MD (RTF 49KB) Download ZM (RTF 96KB)

Patient information

To help explain  the benefits of a GPMP and how the general practice team supports a patient living with cancer, we have prepared the following information sheet which can be provided to patients:

Other cancer support resources

More information

Contact your practice facilitator

Last modified: 7 June, 2021