Providing better access and more choice for cancer care

Thursday, 01 February, 2024

Providing better access and more choice for cancer care

Cancer patients undergoing treatment on Brisbane’s northside are set to benefit from a new, multimillion-dollar onsite radiation therapy service.

Located onsite at St Vincent’s Private Hospital Northside (at Chermside), the new service will provide a fully integrated end-to-end cancer service, eliminating the need for patients to travel away from the hospital campus for radiation therapy.

The service by St Vincent’s and Icon Cancer Centre (Icon) features an experienced team of radiation oncologists, radiation therapists, nurses and support staff. The centre will deliver care using the latest in radiation therapy technology and techniques.

St Vincent’s Private Hospital Northside CEO Oli Steele said, “Increasingly for cancer patients, it’s not just one modality of treatment — like surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. It’s usually a combination of therapies.”

“Around 50% of all patients diagnosed with cancer require radiation oncology treatment and, to date, those needing that treatment haven’t been able to be treated here at St Vincent’s Northside.

18,000 treatments a year

Icon Group CEO Mark Middleton said his team would partner with St Vincent’s to provide the latest in radiation therapy treatment including Varian’s HyperArc — the latest treatment for advanced brain cancer, and IDENTIFY technology — Surface Guided Radiation Therapy (SGRT), tattoo-free advanced radiation therapy.

“The centre will be equipped with a Varian TrueBeam linear accelerator, the latest in radiation therapy technology with the capacity to deliver 18,000 radiation therapy treatments annually, including the latest techniques to treat a wide range of cancers for Brisbane’s inner north,” Middleton said.

Patient-focused, clinical collaboration

Dr Rick Abraham, a medical oncologist at St Vincent’s Northside and with Icon, said establishing an onsite radiation facility was a vital part of providing better choice and access for patients.

“Many patients going through chemotherapy are quite unwell and with those patients that also require radiation treatment it’s extremely beneficial to provide onsite, integrated cancer care,” Abraham said.

“We can now offer something that’s special through this partnership with a great multidisciplinary team, great facilities and strong collaboration. I’m confident we can build a service that’s going to make a difference to patients on Brisbane’s northside.”

Radiation therapy is a highly targeted, safe and effective treatment used to treat a wide range of cancers including, but not limited to, breast, prostate, skin, lung and brain cancer and is often used in combination with other treatments, like chemotherapy. Radiation therapy treatment is usually given in daily intervals over several weeks with every course unique to each patient’s condition.

Subject to regulatory approvals, the new radiation therapy service is expected to be up and running at St Vincent’s Private Hospital Northside by late 2024.

Top image caption: From L to R — Dr Michelle Grogan (Radiation Oncologist); Nadine Gowen (St Vincent's Executive Manager); Mark Middleton OAM (Icon Group CEO); Oli Steele (St Vincent's Private Hospital Northside CEO); Dr Rick Abraham (Medical Oncologist); Ross Koscharsky (Icon Group Global Director); A/Prof Jim Jackson and Dr Minjae Lah (Radiation Oncologists).

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