Canberra’s first private radiation oncology service has launched, aiming to meet one of the ACT’s fastest-growing healthcare needs - cancer care close to home.
There are more than 1,600 new cancer diagnoses annually in the ACT, and that number is expected to grow by 55 percent in the next decade.
The new Icon Cancer Centre Canberra can deliver up to 9,000 radiation therapy treatments each year, with the potential to double this by adding a second machine if demand increases.
Radiation therapy is available to all patients in the region, whether they usually access private or public healthcare. Chemotherapy and treatment for blood disorders will be introduced later in 2019, ensuring patients have access to all aspects of cancer care in one location.
The centre also offers a new premium PET-CT and oncology imaging service, based at the purpose-built Canberra Specialist Medical Centre, alongside the University of Canberra’s allied health service.
One of the first patients was Canberra resident John Barrett, who needed radiation therapy after surgery to treat facial skin cancer.
“I’m very grateful that the Icon centre opened in time for my treatment. I had a really short window to have my radiation after surgery, which wasn’t going to be possible locally.
“If Icon wasn’t here I would have had to go to Sydney or the Gold Coast for six whole weeks, and that would have meant both myself and my wife having to stop work. I’m a contractor so the thought of no income and the uncertainty around extended leave was concerning,” he said.
The centre’s staff helped him through “a very difficult time” as he suffered numerous physical side effects after the cancer diagnosis, Mr Barrett added.
The new facility will also provide integrated learning opportunities for university students, who will work closely with Icon Cancer Centre to deliver personalised allied health services for patients during their oncology treatment.
“We are extremely proud to deliver on this commitment for the people of Canberra, with local patients now having greater choice to receive integrated and holistic cancer care on their doorstep at Canberra Specialist Medical Centre,” said Icon Group founder and chairman Stuart Giles.
“Providing the best possible healthcare services for any community takes a consummate team effort. Icon, Qscan and the University of Canberra look forward to continuing working closely together to meet the cancer care needs of local patients,” he added.