A new service being launched in Stawell will give patients access to radiation therapy treatment that is used in the fight against skin cancer.
Austin Health Radiation Oncologist, Dr Louise Gorman, said the new Stawell Austin Radiation Oncology Service (SAROS) has received funding for equipment from the Victorian Government and will be delivered through a partnership between Austin Health and Stawell Regional Health.
“We are very excited to be able to offer radiotherapy services to the community in this part of Victoria,” Dr Gorman said.
“Radiotherapy is a key treatment option for people with skin cancers and this new service will give public health patients in the Grampians region access to a comprehensive skin cancer service for the first time."
“One of the great advantages of this radiation therapy is that in most cases the patient comes in for their appointment and 20-30 minutes later they are heading back to work. This type of treatment can cure skin cancer and remove the need for patients to have surgery in some circumstances,” she said.
Stawell Regional Health’s Acting Director of Clinical Services, Kate Pryde, said “the new service will be available to public patients at no cost and is an important step in making the latest cancer treatments accessible to rural communities.”
“The SAROS service complements a range of cancer services available at Stawell Regional Health and we are pleased to work together with Austin Health to provide the service to Grampians communities,” Ms Pryde said.
Minster for Health, Jenny Mikakos, welcomed the new service.
“We’re proud to have invested $250,000 in the very latest radiotherapy equipment for Stawell Region Health,” Minister Mikakos said.
“It means patients with skin cancer can get the most precise and safest treatment possible while staying close to home.
“I’m delighted that skin cancer patients in the region will no longer need to take time off work, travel long distances or pay for accommodation to access free, high quality, skin radiotherapy treatment,” she said.
Dr Gorman said Austin Health currently provides cancer services through the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre in Melbourne and also through the Ballarat Austin Radiation Oncology Centre.
“Patients in the Grampians region are currently less likely to be treated using radiation therapy than patients anywhere else in Victoria, and this new service will mean the community no longer have to travel to Ballarat or Melbourne to receive the same care,” she said.
“If you or someone close to you has been diagnosed with skin cancer then we’d encourage you to talk with your doctor now to see if radiotherapy treatment is suitable,” Dr Gorman said.
“The new equipment will be delivered to Stawell Regional Health next month with the new service available to patients from May this year,” Ms Pryde said.
For more information about the new radiotherapy service at Stawell Hospital please contact the Ballarat Austin Radiation Oncology Centre on (03) 5320 8600.