An announcement this morning, Friday, February 26 at Forster Private Hospital that the Federal government is investing up to $5 million into cancer care for patients in the Manning Great Lakes has been welcomed by health providers and cancer patients across the region.
The multi-million dollar grant will go towards the establishment of Cancer Care Manning-Great Lakes, a service which will provide access to radiation therapy services for thousands of local cancer patients.
"This new investment of up to $5 million means cancer patients in the Manning-Great Lakes region can access treatment close to home and without incurring out of pocket expenses," Member for Lyne, David Gillespie said.
There are 95,000 people across the Manning-Great Lakes region that don't have ready access to radiotherapy services.- David Gillespie
Dr Gillespie, who had been working to secure funding for many years, described the project as a great initiative.
"There are 95,000 people across the Manning-Great Lakes region that don't have ready access to radiotherapy services," he said.
"Cancer patients either have to travel to Newcastle or Port Macquarie to receive radiation oncology treatment."
Thirty-seven-year-old Jaime Manning was one of those patients who had to travel to Sydney for much of her treatment.
However, she was able to access chemotherapy through Forster Private Hospital.
With a family history of breast cancer, Jaimie had always been aware of the importance of checking for lumps and changes in her breasts.
"I was devastated (learning she had breast cancer); I had two children aged eight and 10 at the time," she said.
Now cancer free, Jaime welcomed the news a state-of-the-art linear accelerator radiation oncology facility would be established in the region.
However, three years on, and while Jaime was cancer free she confessed she was still mentally scarred from the experience.
Northern Beaches Cancer Care radiation oncologist, Michael Izard, who attended the announcement, said with some patients receiving treatment every day sometimes for up to six weeks, it would be a relief knowing they could return to the comfort of their own home every day.
He said the radiation treatment itself sometimes only took a matter of minutes.
Dr Izard said treatment could at times be confronting and a burdensome.
Dr Gillespie said Cancer Care Manning Great Lakes would be an integrated service across three sites; Forster Private, Mayo Private and Manning Base hospitals.
The service was expected to go live within the next 15-25 months.