Radiation treatment off to a good start

MONDAY, December 9 will go down in history as the day that saw the first treatment on the linear accelerator at the Shoalhaven Cancer Care Centre.

While the centre has been undertaking chemotherapy treatment for a number of weeks, Monday was the first time the machine, which has undergone months of painstaking testing, began treating local patients.

Director of Cancer Services Anthony Arnold said the start of the new service went seamlessly.

“I think the patients really appreciated being able to get in their cars and drive around 10 minutes for treatment and being able to pull up at the front door, instead of up to one hour and 15 minutes to get to Wollongong.”

Day one of the Shoalhaven service saw 15 patients treated. Mr Arnold said that number would increase to more than 20 patients a day by next week.

“Ideally, treating between 30 and 40 patients a day is getting up there with the machine’s capacity.

“We have started in a sensible fashion, using patients who have already started treatment, rather than testing the whole box and dice in one hit. We have taken a careful, staged approach.”

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