WHEN the first linear accelerator started up at the Orange Health Service in 2011 it was expected to reach full capacity within 18 months.
But less than five months later the machine was already treating as many patients as it could.
Facts like this made the case for a second linear accelerator compelling and shows the vital importance of the radiotherapy service in Orange
By February next year the new accelerator should be up and running and will see around 70 cancer patients treated on the two machines each day, provided staffing numbers are adequate.
The sad fact these figures show is how the number of cancer cases has grown to such an extent that a second accelerator was needed so soon.
These days everyone has been touched by the devastating reality of cancer, whether it be themselves or a loved-one.
Although not a magic bullet, having a second linear accelerator in Orange can at least soften the blow for regional families who would otherwise be faced with the daunting prospect of travelling to Sydney for regular cancer treatment.
It would be bad enough to find out you needed radiotherapy up to five days a week for six to eight weeks without the added trauma and upheaval of having to stay in Sydney away from your usual surrounds during probably one of the most difficult times of anyone's life.
The beauty of the second linear accelerator is that it's not just Orange residents who will benefit.
Cancer patients travel from all over central and western NSW to take advantage of the existing accelerator and will no doubt flock to Orange when the second machine is ready to go.
The second accelerator is another string in the bow of Orange's already enviable health service and cements Orange's reputation as the leading health centre in western NSW.