Local cancer treatment returns ‘excellent’ results: report
AN AUSTRALIAN-first report has found local breast cancer patients are experiencing 'excellent' results and fewer side effects thanks to modern radiation therapy techniques.
These techniques are being used at the Mid North Coast (MNCCI) and North Coast Cancer Institutes (NCCI).
The evaluation, led by local radiation oncologist Associate Professor Tom Shakespeare, followed a total of 155 patients from Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie and Lismore and found that not one of these patients had a cancer recurrence in the treated breast.
It was also found that no patient suffered from significant side effects, and all rated their cosmetic outcome as good or excellent.
"Breast cancer can be cured with a combination of surgery and post-operative radiation therapy," Prof. Shakespeare said.
"Our report is the first of its kind in Australia, and only the second publication of its kind in the world."
The techniques evaluated included hypfractionation - which means radiation treatment is done in higher doses over fewer sessions - as well as intensity-modulated radiation therapy which is highly targeted, and treating women in a face down position.
"The combination of these three techniques has been in use at the MNCCI and NCCI since 2012, and we were one of the first centres in Australia to adopt this method," Prof Shakespeare said.
"We have treated more than 3,500 women with curative breast radiation in the Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie radiation oncology centres at the MNCCI, and the NCCI centre in Lismore."
Each year, around 190 women are diagnosed with breast cancer on the Mid North Coast and 260 in Northern NSW, according to Cancer Institute NSW figures.
The report has been published in the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists' Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Oncology.
The Mid North Coast Local Health District invested $21.38 million in Cancer Services across the region in 2019-20.