THE long-awaited Integrated Cancer Care Centre at Lismore Base Hospital took a huge step forward yesterday with the arrival of its centrepiece –a $27 million linear acceleration machine.
Other big ticket items on the wayinclude a CT scanner and a planning machine that determine where the tumour needs to be attacked.
“The accelerator is important because this delivers the treatment,” a clearly pleased chief executive of North Coast Area Health Service, Chris Crawford, said yesterday.
The linear accelerator gives doses of radiation for between 10 and 30 minutes to try to shrink the tumour.
“It means people can receive radiotherapy treatment locally rather than having to travel to Queensland or Sydney. Because patients receive a series of treatments it’s a lot of travelling,” Mr Crawford said.
The centre, which is due for completion in May after a two-month delay due to poor weather, is jointly funded by the State and Federal governments.
Once operational, the cancer care centre will form part of a larger, integrated cancer care system, linking with other units at Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour.
Lismore MP Thomas George and Page MP Janelle Saffin, who have both actively lobbied for the centre, were on hand yesterday as the machine was manoeuvred into place.
“It’s a dream come true,” Mr George said.
“The initial announcement was made back in 2004, and to see this finally coming to fruition is something the people of the North Coast have been waiting for a long time.”
“It is the latest technology and it’s here in Lismore.”
Ms Saffin said because of the large amount of travel previously needed to receive treatment, many cancer sufferers decided to do without.
Mr Crawford said the area health service was also looking to build aresidential lodge across the road for patients using the centre in conjunction with community groups.
“If patients come from a little bit further a field, like Evans Head or Grafton, they can effectively just walk across the road for their treatment,” he said.