Clinic paves the way for cancer patients

A NEW Bendigo clinic is giving cancer patients access to care faster than ever before.

Bendigo’s Peter MacCallum centre has opened a Thoracic Multidisciplinary Clinic - a first for the city.

The new clinic shortens the time from a patient's diagnosis to treatment.

Peter MacCullum Cancer Centre radiation oncologist Tracie Gleisner said the clinic provided greater Bendigo patients with lung and oesophageal cancer quicker access to critical care.

Dr Gleisner said the pilot project, run in partnership with Bendigo Health, was based on the multidisciplinary care model at Peter MacCallum’s main site in Melbourne.

She said it gave people with lung and oesophageal cancers access to expert advice in one clinical session.

“When radiation oncology, cancer medicine and cancer surgery work in isolation, patients can have appointments staggered across three different clinics, which can take up to six weeks to get through, whereas patients we see in the new multidisciplinary clinic can be receiving treatment within a week and a half of consultation,” Dr Gleisner said.

The clinic has been running for the past four months, with Dr Gleisner already seeing the benefits.

“Studies have proved that the time between diagnosis and beginning therapy is important,” she said.

“The clinic is saving lives.”

Bendigo cancer patient Ossie Errington said a consultation at the clinic helped him make the right decision about his treatment options.

"On paper, surgery seemed the way to go, but we agreed radiation was a better step to take,” he said.

Mr Errington said it was great to have the information he needed in the one place.

“I was able to ask about the pros and cons of different treatments at the same time, discuss them with my wife and then get stuck straight into the treatment shortly afterward, without delay,” he said. 

The new Peter MacCallum clinic is open once a fortnight.

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