DUDLEY Private Hospital in Orange has led the way in providing innovative treatment for patients diagnosed with bladder cancer.
Urology surgeon Doctor Clair Whelan says the new intravesical therapy provides the “gold standard” of care for early-stage bladder cancer with cancer-fighting chemotherapy or immunotherapy drugs directly injected into the bladder through a catheter.
“This affects only the cells of the bladder but not elsewhere,” Dr Whelan said.
“It means we can target cancers better and earlier and hopefully avoid the tumour progressing and the side effect of systemic chemotherapy down the track - such as hair loss and fatigue.
Dr Whelan said another benefit of the new cancer therapy is that it significantly reduces the chance of recurrence by delivering chemotherapy at the time the tumour is identified and removed - rather than watching and waiting to see if and how the cancer progresses.
Chief executive officer of Dudley Private Hospital Trevor Matheson says he is delighted the new treatment offered at the hospital will mean patients avoid having to travel away from Orange.
Semi-retired Bathurst special educator Pamela Jacobs was the first patient at the hospital to benefit from the new procedure and says it has provided her with peace of mind.
“I gave up smoking years ago but smoked for 20 years previously.
“While I knew about the lung cancer risk I was very surprised that smoking was linked to bladder cancer too,” she said.
After she initially began experiencing bladder problems the condition worsened for Ms Jacobs during a family holiday in Fiji.
“After two or three months I went to the doctor and was quickly diagnosed and treated - I only wish I’d done it earlier,” she said.
“The procedure was painless, the staff fantastic and I went home the same day,” she said.
Each year 2400 Australians are diagnosed with bladder cancer with most people aged over 60 with men four times more likely to be diagnosed than women.
The treatment has subsequently become available at Orange hospital.