HEAD and neck tumour patients will be able to access follow-up consultations in Port Macquarie.
The Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Comprehensive Cancer Centre will extend specialist services to the Port Macquarie area with a regular clinic for head and neck tumour patients.
The clinic comes in response to a high number of referrals from Taree to Coffs Harbour.
Professor Carsten Palme, who leads the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Comprehensive Cancer Centre’s head and neck surgery department, said the new clinic would complement existing services for cancer patients in the Port Macquarie region.
“Our aim is to work closely with the GP community and existing surgical, radiation and medical oncologists in Port Macquarie to complement patient services in the region, and reduce the need for patients to travel long distances for complex specialist and follow-up consultations,” he said.
“We look forward to applying our integrated model of care to patients in the Port Macquarie region.”
Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, located in Sydney, is one of Australia’s only two dedicated comprehensive cancer hospitals.
Professor Chris O’Brien, after whom this hospital was named, was a world-renowned head and neck surgeon.
He lost a three-year battle with an aggressive brain tumour in 2009.
Professor Palme said Port Macquarie was chosen for the clinic because it was already a long way ahead in terms of sophistication of services.
It also has an airport and university sector.
Professor Palme said people should have symptoms checked if they were worried.
“Signs include lumps in the neck and inside the mouth,” he said.
“If people have concerns they should see their GP.”
The incidence of some head and neck cancers has increased dramatically during the past two decades.
Professor Palme and his team will be available at new rooms at Westside Medical Centre.
Surgery and treatment will take place in Sydney but patients will no longer have to travel long distances for supportive and follow-up consultations.
The privately funded Lifehouse clinic will have bulk billing available for financially disadvantaged patients.
About 17,160 Australians live with head and neck cancers. Nearly 5,000 people are diagnosed each year.