Chris O’Brien Lifehouse cancer patients ‘live longer’


Living longer, recovering faster, and facing less likelihood of readmission – cancer patients at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse receive better outcomes than most hospitals across New South Wales can provide, according to recent data.

The Cancer Institute NSW report for 2020 showed the Sydney-based private cancer centre outperformed the state average in many treatments, in some cases significantly.

The Reporting for Better Cancer Outcomes (RBCO) program collects and analyses data and feedback from patients in order to improve cancer services and outcomes. 

It revealed that patients treated at Chris O'Brien Lifehouse have a much higher chance of surviving ovarian, head and neck, lung and neurological cancer, and sarcoma than the state average.

“Our staff all celebrate the fact that patients get better faster and go home to their families faster,” Lifehouse CEO Eileen Hannagan said.

“While cancer can be considered a chronic disease in many cases, every day that our patients have with their families and every day spent at home is precious.”

She said there was a strong correlation between surgical volume and better outcomes. 

“The data shows that we perform by far the highest volume of complex surgery in many types of cancer and what we are seeing is significantly better results than the average in NSW,” Ms Hannagan added.

Chris O'Brien Lifehouse cancer survival rates are above the NSW average.

Since opening as a not-for-profit comprehensive care provider in 2013, four years after the passing of its creator Professor Chris O’Brien, the Lifehouse has become the largest surgical centre for head and neck and breast cancer and the third-largest for ovarian cancer. 

It has also grown its presence in clinical trials from four in 2014 to 85 in the last year.

In total, the Lifehouse has 117 active trials, with 30 in start up and 60 almost complete.

“We’re proud that working together in a multidisciplinary team with a patient-centred approach has resulted in the outcomes we always thought it would,” Ms Hannagan added.

She said Lifehouse had been extending its reach across the state, adding new clinics in rural and regional areas as part of a strategy to provide access to specialist cancer care close to home.

“Working together with local healthcare providers, we have given them the confidence that their patients are in the right hands.

“We are more likely to see them earlier, can provide timely treatment, and they can return to continue the care they need close to home.

“We invest widely in multidisciplinary care, and the proportion of allied health professionals in our hospital compared to others is significantly higher and I think this contributes to our improved outcomes,” Ms Hannagan said.

"These results represent better value care for patients in NSW," Lifehouse CEO Eileen Hannagan said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted health services across the country, as people have either been unable to receive treatment, or stayed home as they are unwilling to expose themselves to the risk of infection.

“Cancer Australia data has shown that there has been a drop in screening, and you can only infer from that there will be later identification of cancer,” Ms Hannagan said.

“We do know that people delayed their care and that demand has been increasing since August.

“One of our largest challenges this year will be the ability to meet the demand for cancer care and deliver the best quality and best value care we are able.”

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