New services will help tackle cancer


The Department of Health and Human Services used World Cancer Day on February 4 to highlight the many improvements underway in cancer care across Tasmania.

DHHS is funding specialist cancer centres at the Royal Hobart Hospital (RHH) and the Launceston General Hospital (LGH) with a Regional Cancer Centre at the North West Regional Hospital (NWRH) in Burnie.

Later in February 2013, the first patients will be treated on a new linear accelerator in the south of the state.

By mid-2013, the last phase of the new RHH cancer centre will open with a second new linear accelerator, patient support centre, and improved clinical and consulting facilities as part of the $586 million RHH redevelopment.

At the LGH, $2 million is being spent to upgrade medical oncology facilities at the Holman Clinic.

Due to finish in the first half of 2013, the upgrade has added five extra treatment chairs, a single and a double ward, three extra consultation rooms and more social work facilities.

Patients in the north are also receiving services through the $4.3 million Northern Cancer Support Centre, jointly funded by the State and Commonwealth Governments and Cancer Council Tasmania.

The cancer support centre offers support groups, advice and psychological support, and it dovetails with the Holman Clinic expansion.

Pre-construction work on a purpose-built North West Regional Cancer Centre at Burnie housing chemotherapy, palliative care and teaching facilities is also underway.

This facility will also house a linear accelerator to provide radiation treatment to North West cancer patients to save them travelling to the LGH.

Tasmanian Health Organisation-North West currently works with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne and a Peter Mac oncologist and a registrar work at the NWRH.

Strong action is also being taking in Tasmania to reduce smoking - one of the leading causes of cancer.

Legislation to remove smoking from many public events and places, including restaurants, playgrounds, sports grounds, bus malls, markets, festivals and beaches, is now in effect.

A new online directory jointly funded by the DHHS and Cancer Australia was recently developed by Cancer Council Tasmania in partnership with the CanNET II Tasmania Project Team.

The directory brings together all available help and support in one place to make finding help as easy as possible for Tasmanians with cancer, their families and health professionals who care for them.

The most recent DHHS Progress Chart also revealed excellent results for cancer screening with the number of women screened increasing and the percentage called back for further assessment within 28 days remaining steady.


5 February 2013