Combatting cancer at The Wesley for 30 years

BRIBANE, Australia – This month we celebrated 30 years of delivering innovative radiation therapy treatment at The Wesley Hospital in Brisbane, Queensland. Former patients, long-standing clinicians and local industry partners came together at an event on Saturday 21 July to reflect on major developments in cancer care, and to acknowledge GenesisCare’s contribution to the community and to The Wesley Hospital over the past three decades.

We’ve provided treatment to more than 38,000 people with cancer at the hospital since we launched radiation therapy services in 1988, when the centre was first known as The Wesley Cancer Care Centre.

Among the thousands of Queenslanders who have received cancer treatment at The Wesley is Paul White, CEO of the Brisbane Broncos. Paul was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2015. The location of the deep-seated tumour meant that a program of radiation therapy, and also chemotherapy, was prescribed.

“I received great care at GenesisCare, during what was a very challenging period in my life for myself and my family. What I enjoyed most about my care was the strength of the communication to myself and my wife Angela, particularly during the early stages. I trusted in the professionals overseeing my care, and kept myself both busy and healthy during my treatment. My diagnosis continues to remain very positive,” said Mr White.

Thankfully for Paul, and other people across Queensland combatting cancer, treatments and techniques continue to become more advanced and targeted. The pioneering service at The Wesley has been home to many ‘firsts’ in its 30-year history: it was the first centre in Queensland to introduce Stereotactic Radiosurgery, predominantly used to target brain tumours without surgery, and the first in Brisbane to invest in a multi-million dollar TrueBeam linear accelerator to help clinicians deliver radiation to a tumour with millimetre accuracy.

GenesisCare Queensland’s Oncology Medical Director, Dr Marie Burke, said she’d like to mark the milestone with a thanks to the centre’s many long-standing team members: “We feel very humbled to have had the opportunity to provide care to tens of thousands of Queenslanders at The Wesley over three decades. I’d like to acknowledge my colleagues who have supported patients in what is often the most difficult time in their lives.”

Dr David Schlect, Paul White’s treating radiation oncologist, was acknowledged at the event for his commitment over the past 27 years. Other passionate clinical leaders acknowledged included Nick Biesot and Peter Christiansen who both mark their 30-year anniversaries in 2018.

Dr Burke added: “Precision, personalised cancer treatment has come so far, but we’ll never stop trying to make care better. We understand that a patient is a person too, needing more than just treatment for a tumour, and we’ll continue to learn and to challenge ourselves to get the best possible life outcomes for our patients.”

Advanced treatment techniques available at GenesisCare’s centre at The Wesley, include: a highly targeted form of radiation therapy called Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) to minimise side effects; Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH) to minimise exposure to the heart for patients with left-sided breast cancer; and brachytherapy which involves planting ‘seeds’ of radiation into the prostate. Rapid access to high quality cancer treatment is available for both publicly and privately referred patients.

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