COMMUNITY members and clinicians will come together to acknowledge advancements in access to local cancer care, at official opening ceremonies for two new oncology centres this week. In partnership with Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service, the state-of-the-art centres are co-located at the Mater Hospital in Bundaberg, and St Stephen’s Hospital on the Fraser Coast.
The centres are operated by GenesisCare, the largest provider of cancer care and heart care in Australia, Spain and the UK, enabling patients to benefit from the network’s access to international insights, research and best practice.
More than 450 people with cancer in the region have already received treatment at the centres, since the first patient visits in January 2018. GenesisCare Queensland Medical Director of Radiation Oncology, Dr Marie Burke, said that initial patient feedback has been very positive, and exciting new advancements are on track.
“Patient feedback we have received so far has been tremendous. We know that a cancer diagnosis can put a lot of strain on individuals and their families, and we are so pleased that we can make things that little bit easier with a warm and welcoming new facility. We also know that what matters most is doing everything we can to help patients get the best possible life outcomes, and it is a privilege to provide an update on new advancements we’ll be introducing soon,” said Dr Burke.
“For people with left-sided breast cancer – one of our most commonly seen tumour sites – we are preparing to introduce a technique called Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH) from August. This technique minimises radiation to the heart during treatment, to prevent heart health problems down the track.
“Stereotactic radiation therapy is another form of advanced treatment that we’ll be launching later this year. It’s a highly targeted treatment that delivers higher doses of treatment to tumours, meaning that patients can reduce the number of times they need to receive treatment. Once introduced, DIBH and stereotactic treatments will be available locally for the first time, reducing the need for patients from the Wide Bay to travel outside of the community to access care.”
A number of other new services are also in the pipeline, including a Queensland-first cardio-oncology program, rapid access to treatment for palliative care patients, expanded outreach clinics and telehealth, and access to cutting-edge research and clinical trials.
Local community member and GP, Dr Drew Speight, experienced treatment first-hand at GenesisCare Bundaberg, after a recent diagnosis.
“I’m happy that I can get great care at a top-notch facility near home, rather than spending some seven weeks away in Brisbane. Being treated in Bundy allows me to be among friends and remain engaged in my community. I am back at work as well – while having daily treatment. My experience so far is overwhelmingly positive, and the staff are great. They are very friendly and supportive and I know they care about me as an individual, as well,” said Dr Speight.
Wide Bay Hospital and Health Services Board Chair, Peta Jamieson, said that they are pleased to be partnering with GenesisCare to provide access to high quality cancer care in the region.
“We are continually enhancing oncology services in Wide Bay, so that patients can stay close to their loved ones during treatment, removing the burden of a long commute. Our partnership with GenesisCare will enable us to fast-track access to expanded services. In the coming months, we are excited that new world-class treatments and techniques will become available locally for the first time, adding to the extensive cancer care services already available in Wide Bay,” said Ms Jamieson.
The official opening of GenesisCare Bundaberg will be held on Thursday 19 July, and the GenesisCare Fraser Coast official opening will be held on Friday 20 July. Radiation oncology services are available at both centres, accessible to both public and private patients.
GenesisCare is proud of its long history with cardiology and sleep and respiratory services in the Wide Bay community, and has recently launched a partnership with social initiative ‘Live Life Get Active’, headed up by Olympian Jane Flemming, to offer free active camps in both Bundaberg and Fraser Coast.