Crown funding has been approved to build a radiation oncology facility at Whangarei Hospital. The new facility will expand the Jim Carney Cancer Treatment Centre (JCCTC).
It will include one Linear Accelerator (LINAC), two bunkers (one for future growth), a CT scanner and an expansion of the existing JCCTC facility.
“The development of a Radiation Oncology facility in Northland will address several significant issues for the regional service,” offered chief executive, Dr Nick Chamberlain.
“Demand for radiotherapy has exceeded the capacity provided by the six LINAC machines within the region since 2017, which are all currently located at Auckland Hospital.”
Northland-domiciled patients account for approximately one LINAC of the regional demand, so establishing a facility in Northland will significantly improve access to radiotherapy for Northlanders and increase overall regional capacity.
“Outpatient Cancer and Blood Services and most chemotherapy treatments at Whangarei Hospital are currently delivered in the JCCTC, a standalone building across the road from the main hospital block,” Dr Chamberlain said.
“A large proportion of Northland patients who now receive either radiotherapy or combined radiotherapy-chemotherapy treatment at Auckland Hospital would receive this treatment in Whangarei, so demand for chemotherapy will immediately increase.”
Therefore, the Crown funding includes expanding the JCCTC to allow for the additional demand and support space for growing cancer treatment requirements.
Construction is estimated to be complete in 2025.
Radiation therapy, also known as radiotherapy, is a key treatment for some cancers. Radiation therapy uses radiation beams to destroy or injure cancer cells so they cannot multiply.
It can also be used to reduce the size of the cancer and relieve pain, discomfort or other symptoms.
Radiation therapy can be used to treat a range of cancers and some non-cancer conditions. Radiation therapy is used to treat a wide range of cancer types.
It is used to treat cancer, shrink a tumour before surgery, reduce the risk of a cancer returning after surgery and control symptoms if a cancer is too advanced to cure. A course of treatment is usually delivered over an extended period due to the number of doses (fractions) required.