Portland Oncology service hits milestone

Portland District Health’ s oncology service has hit a significant milestone with its 3000th cancer treatment delivered this month. The oncology service started in July 2014 and has grown over the years, more than doubling its initial treatment projections.

“It has served people well,” oncologist Associate Professor Ian Collins said.

“When we started, based on government numbers of patients from Portland and Heywood regions travelling to Warrnambool or Geelong for treatment, it was estimated that we’d get 160 treatments per year. We’ve far exceeded that and we now have 400 treatments per year.”

The service has expanded from primarily providing oncology treatments each Thursday to also including haematology services provided by Dr Jen Brotchie on Tuesdays.;

The level of localised care has also expanded during the week with nurse practitioner Nat Abel completing further training to provide an enhanced service and support oncology and dialysis patients for the rest of the week.

Associate Professor Collins said the growth in numbers accessing the service meant people battling cancer could access services closer to home.

“If those 3000 treatments were to be delivered in Warrnambool, that’s 6000 hours or 250 days of patients with cancer not having to sit in their car,” he said.

Associate Professor Collins said the growth was due to better awareness and expansion of treatments.

“We believe there were patients who weren’t getting any treatment and that there is better awareness among patients and doctors of what we can provide,” he said. “There are also more treatments available now than in 2014. We’re getting better at treating cancer and treating people for longer to keep them well.”

He predicted the service would continue to expand. “It’s a growing service with an increased local specialisation with our nurse practitioner. We want to continue providing a service that is as home-grown as possible to provide local treatment for local patients.”