Work begins on new oncology service set to improve cancer treatments

Work has begun on a new oncology centre, with hopes it will cut waiting times for cancer patients and save Canberrans from travelling interstate for treatment.

The Canberra Specialist Medical Centre at University of Canberra is due to open next year, increasing the availability of radiation and medical oncology, haematology and diagnostic services.

The three-level building will feature two radiation therapy bunkers for linear accelerators, the latest in radiation therapy technology delivering pinpoint accuracy in treating solid tumours.

The centre will also be equipped with a 15-chair day oncology unit delivering chemotherapy and treatment for blood disorders.

The centre – a partnership between the university, cancer care provider Icon Group and Cornerstone Building Developments – will also provide training and research opportunities for the university’s staff and students.

The University’s Vice-Chancellor and president Professor Deep Saini said the centre would be a great facility for the Canberra community and provide exciting opportunities for health and science students.

“With this new centre, our students will have access to an advanced facility where they will be able to apply their learnings from the classroom through clinical placements,” Professor Saini said.

“It will also provide our researchers and research students various collaborative opportunities across different fields, including medical oncology, radiation oncology and chemotherapy. It is an exciting venture.”

Professor in medical imaging Rob Davidson said the centre should reduce waiting times and help provide the best training to students, who now had access to clinical services on campus.

“There is currently a very limited service for cancer patients in Canberra’s growing population,” he said.

“The current services mean patients have delays in services or they have to travel elsewhere.”

Icon Group chief executive officer Mark Middleton said the centre would improve access to world-class cancer care services for patients in Canberra at a time of increasing need.

“It’s our firm belief that people should have access to comprehensive, quality cancer care as close to home as possible, and this includes the availability of options to suit patients’ personal treatment needs and preferences,” he said.

“We look forward to supporting the Canberra community with exceptional cancer care.”

This new centre will expand on the range of services offered within the university’s growing health precinct, including the health hub, which has been operating since 2014, and the soon-to-open University of Canberra Public Hospital.