Women in need of gynaecological cancer surgery can now stay in Cairns for the procedure.
Operating out of Cairns Private Hospital, Gold Coast specialist surgeon Dr Helen Green will fly to the far north of the state each month for the region’s first regular gynaecology cancer service.
Dr Green said it had been difficult for women in regional areas to access these kind of health care services.
“Some patients may still need to come to the southeast (of Queensland) for surgery, but now there is a feasible option for people to be able to receive treatment locally,” she said.
“A lot of people bring their whole family when they travel to the southeast for treatment, to have that support around them and obviously if you work, or children have to be in school, in can be quite disruptive for families.”
When Dr Green is not in Cairns, her patients will be cared for by local gynaecologists, Dr Liz Jackson and Dr Anusha Lazzari.
“We’ve been able to develop a situation where there is a team to look after patient needs when I am not there,” Dr Green said.
“Surgery was the only thing missing from gynaecological cancer services in Cairns.
“Patients can have chemotherapy and radiation locally, now being able to have surgical procedures locally completes the picture.”
Endometrial cancer is the most common cancer requiring surgery, but Dr Green can also perform surgery for uterine or ovarian cancer patients using minimally invasive techniques, including robotic surgery.
“Prior to having Dr Green come to Cairns, most gynaecology cancer patients needed to travel to Brisbane or the Gold Coast for their surgeries,” Dr Jackson said.
“This involved leaving their family and home for usually one to two weeks while undergoing cancer surgery.
“There is currently a public gynaecology-oncology service which runs out of Townsville every three weeks, with fly-in-fly-out doctors and this is the nearest regular service to Cairns.
“Occasionally, visiting gynaecology cancer surgeons have come to Cairns to perform procedures, but until now, there has been no regular service.”
Dr Green will also be using telehealth to consult with her patients before travelling to Cairns to perform surgery.
“That way patients don’t have to wait until I am physically there, we can talk about the treatment plan and I can reassure them and understand their concerns and fears,” she said.
“It’s all about educating the patients and helping them understand their condition.
“It’s important for their psychological and emotional wellbeing, and it’s also important they’re not seeing me for the first time when they have their surgery.”
Cairns Private Hospital CEO, Ben Tooth, said he was delighted to see this service being offered in regional areas.
“I’m extremely supportive of the increased specialised services to the region for patients who otherwise would have to travel to receive this care,” he said.
Dr Green successfully completed surgery on her first Cairns patients this week.