Cancer and the Older Person

This four-week, part-time massive open online course (MOOC) is for GPs, nurses and allied health professionals in the field, as well as family members and carers of older people with a cancer diagnosis.

It has been developed collaboratively and draws on the world-leading knowledge of specialists from the VCCC Alliance including the University of Melbourne, the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology.

This course will enhance the understanding of cancer care for geriatric patients and help health professionals and carers to build confidence and knowledge to care for older people who have been diagnosed with or are undergoing treatment for cancer. 

Led by professionals from the University of Melbourne, participants will learn communication methods and modes of questioning that will help them to respectfully encourage others to heed and adhere to expert health advice.

As well as helping them to learn and share the facts around geriatric oncology, the course will also help professionals, carers and families to support someone who is diagnosed with cancer later in life.

Topics covered:

- Impact of cancer in older people 

- Approaches for carers of older people with cancer

- Geriatric medicine

- Advice for practitioners in working with older people who have cancer 

Course outcomes

By the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe factors that would differentiate a fit older person from a frail person as a result of cancer and its treatment.
  • Explain how age-associated changes might impact on a person’s ability to engage in treatment decision-making and self-care.
  • Explain the importance of effective communication and diversity of the population of an older person with cancer.
  • Explore strategies to effectively identify values and wishes that influence the care an older person may receive.
  • Explain the importance of a multidisciplinary approach in caring for an older person affected by cancer.


Participants will receive a Certificate of Participation; continuing professional development (CPD) points will be available through the relevant college.

2023 course dates

This course has been widely embraced after launching in 2021. It was presented three times throughout 2022 and in 2023 will be commencing on the following dates.

6 February 2023 for 4 weeks

8 May 2023 for 4 weeks

4 September 2023 for 4 weeks

Learn more and enrol - this accessible program delivers relevant, evidence-based resources and is available as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).  

Contact us for further information

For information contact Kyleigh Smith, VCCC Alliance Senior Manager Education Development via email. 

The Cancer and the Older Person program is proudly supported by the Victorian Government.

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