Mandurah's long-awaited specialist cancer centre, offering much-needed radiation and chemotherapy to Peel patients, is nearing completion.
The Mandurah Mailbroke the news in August 2018 that the region's first treatment facility, housing all the necessary healthcare professionals under one roof, would open in 2019.
Construction began on GenesisCare Western Australia's $10 million purpose-built oncology centre early in 2019 and the facility will start treating patients on July 1.
Offering state-of-the-art services for Mandurah residents, the facility, located on the corner of Kookaburra Drive and Minilya Parkway, will mean patients will no longer have to travel to Perth, Rockingham or Bunbury.
The Mandurah Mail was offered an exclusive behind the scenes look at the cancer centre before it opens its doors for the first time on Monday.
In addition to providing the latest techniques in a range of cancer treatment services, including specific treatments for palliative patients, there are also specialist consultation rooms for cardiology, sleep and respiratory conditions.
The centre features a high-end linear accelerator capable of delivering the latest radiation oncology techniques, an exercise rehabilitation clinic, ambulance access, free survivorship clinics and free parking on site.
Centre leader Alison Murray said being a purpose-built premises allowed GenesisCare to include a number of creature comforts and added benefits to make the centre as "welcoming and comfortable as possible".
"Our chemotherapy chairs have USB connectivity so patients can charge their devices while receiving treatment," she said.
"We've got beverage stations in the waiting room and chemotherapy area, so patients can help themselves, and the furnishings and fittings and artwork from artist David Rennie are personal and local.
"It's about reducing the anxiety and the impact associated with coming into a facility for treatment at a difficult time.
"A cancer diagnosis doesn't just impact the patient - it impacts a family, a community and the services here are about creating better outcomes, providing care closer to home."
I don't want anybody to have to experience this but if they can experience it in a comfortable, purpose-built $10 million facility, that's better.Centre leader Alison Murray
A Peel local herself, Ms Murraysaid it was an honour to provide a service to meet the medical needs of her own community.
"I think for me, because I am from down here, being able to provide a service like this locally is so rewarding and it makes me proud," she said.
"I don't want anybody to have to experience this but if they can experience it in a comfortable, purpose-built $10 million facility, that's better.
"In the Peel region, there is an amazing amount of services like Cancer Council, Dot's Place, the hospital and so many more and it is important for us to continue to build on all those relationships and link-in with the doctors and the services."
With the capacity to treat up to 1000 patients a year, the centre will help meet the growing demand for oncology services in the region.
Mandurah has one of the highest rates of diagnosed cases of cancer in Australia, making it a national cancer 'hotspot'.
Ms Murray said the opening came at a particularly crucial time, with treatment urgently needed in the area.
The impact of travelling like up to three hours there and back every day for four-six weeks for someone who doesn't feel 100 per cent, is huge. [The centre] is just taking the burden of travel awayCentre leader Alison Murray
"We have an ageing demographic so we have a lot of older people and therefore potentially more people are diagnosed," she said.
"We think we could see up to 50 patients a day for radiotherapy and between 10-15 patients for chemotherapy so there is definitely an unmet need currently.
"Peel Health Campus has a public service for chemotherapy, but they are bursting at the seams and there is no radiotherapy services.
"The impact of travelling up to three hours there and back every day for four-six weeks, for someone who doesn't feel 100 per cent, is huge. [The centre] is just taking the burden of travel away."
Ms Murray, who has more than 20 years experience as a registered nurse in Australia and the United Kingdom, said the centre would also have a positive impact on local jobs.
The GenesisCare centre will employ a number of radiation and medical oncologists, an exercise physiologist, specially trained radiation therapists and specialist nurses, as well as the administration team.
"It is a great place of employment for people in the Peel because a majority of our staff are new to GenesisCare and from the Peel region so it's a win-win," Ms Murray said.
"Everybody here displays values of bravery, empathy, innovation, quality. It's not just about being technologically advanced but having the right people from the community as the face of our centre.
"We will also have specialists coming down from Fiona Stanley Hospital to ensure that patients continue to access their same specialists.
"At this point in time it is an adult facility but that isn't to say there isn't opportunities in the future for children's therapy if there is a need in the region."
The GenesisCare cancer centre will begin radiotherapy treatments on Monday, July 1 with exercise physiology due to get underway in August and a start date for chemotherapy services to be confirmed later in the year.