$28m Lismore cancer centre opens
PEOPLE diagnosed with cancer who live in rural areas have a much greater chance of dying from the disease than those living in the city.
However, that alarming gap will be closed from today for people living on the Northern Rivers when the region’s new cancer care clinic opens at the Lismore Base Hospital.
“It’s about access to quality treatment,” Lismore Base Hospital medical oncologist Dr Adam Boyce said.
“Patients can now receive optimum cancer therapy much closer to home.”
The Lismore Cancer Care and Haematology Unit will offer the best treatment available for cancer patients, with a PET scanner and two linear accelerators, the second of which is yet to be installed.
Lismore is only the second regional centre in NSW to get a high-tech PET scanner for detecting cancers and heart and brain disease.
“It will be a unique andenvied regional cancer facility,” Dr Boyce said.
It is expected up to 700 people from across the region will require radiotherapy treatment for cancer in the next 12 months.
“It will make a huge difference to people’s lives if they don’t have to travel great distances,” Dr Boyce said.
The State Government provided $12 million toward the cost of the centre, with the Federal Government providing a further $9.1 million.
The Federal Government also provided $6.5 million for the purchase of a second lin-ear accelerator at the centre, and $2.2 million for a separate 20-bed accommodation unit, Our House.
Our House will be built on land opposite the hospital and will provide accommodation for patients and their families who have travelled from across the region toreceive cancer treatment in Lismore.
It will consist of 10 units in motel-style accommodation.
Each room will have a bathroom, and tea and coffee facilities, with space for up to five people.
There also will be a shared kitchen, named in honour of the Goonellabah Senior Citizens Social Club, which donated money from the sale of its building. A further 10 units will be built during stage two.
Dr Boyce said planning for the new cancer centre began in 2003, when he and members of the hospital board travelled to Sydney to put their case to the NSW Government.
A team of committed doctors and nurses had worked hard to see the centre established, he said.
Dr Boyce said seeing the centre open today would be a career highlight.
The Hunter Street centre will be opened this morning by Federal Minister for Regional and Rural Health, Warren Snowdon.
The Minister will be also visiting the Kyogle Community Technology Centre with Federal Page MP Janelle Saffin to launch the health initiative, Active Kyogle, at 2pm.