YESTERDAY the first of hundreds of extra cancer patients a year was treated in the cancer unit at Orange hospital using the recently installed second linear accelerator.
The $3 million unit, which is the second to be commissioned at the hospital, has a feature that enables it to rotate and deliver beams to patients from different directions.
Since the first linear accelerator was commissioned at Orange hospital, 680 patients have been involved in radiotherapy treatment at the hospital for a period of between five and six weeks.
Director of radiation oncology Graham Stevens said of those numbers, three-quarters of the patients treated came from areas outside Orange. This includes places as far west as Collarenebri and Walgett and east as far as Lithgow.
Director of medical services Louise Messara said cancer patients took part in an education program in the lead-up to their first treatment.
“We have quite an extensive program in place to make patients feel more comfortable and familiarise them with their surroundings in preparation for the time they receive their first treatment,” she said.
NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner recently inspected the second linear accelerator at Orange hospital during a visit to meet staff and engage with services offered out of the hospital.
“This service really is first class and I congratulate the staff involved in its development,” Ms Skinner said.
Member for Orange Andrew Gee said he was amazed at the impact the additional therapy service would have on cancer outcomes in the region.
“Many lives will be changed by this technology and it’s great to see this service being provided out of Orange,” Mr Gee said.
Many of the cancer patients from outside Orange who require radiation therapy stay at the nearby Western Care Lodge specifically built to accommodate patients.
Dr Stevens told Mr Gee yesterday staff had been gratified by the excellent feedback they had received at the hospital since radiation services began.
“We have been told we have some wonderful staff here,” he said.