Mandurah's long-awaited specialist cancer centre, offering much-needed radiation and chemotherapy to Peel patients, has celebrated its official opening.
GenesisCare staff Mandurah mayor Rhys Williams, Aboriginal elder Harry Nannup and Cancer Council WA information and support services director Melanie Marsh on Wednesday to cut the ribbon and declare the centre open.
The Mandurah Mail broke the news in August 2018 that the region's first purpose-built treatment facility, housing all the necessary healthcare professionals under one roof, would open in 2019.
Construction began on the $10 million Centre for Oncology, Cardiology, Sleep & Respiratory Medicineearlier this year and started treating its first patients on July 1.
Located on the corner of Kookaburra Drive and Minilya Parkway, the new centre means patients will no longer have to travel to Perth, Rockingham or Bunbury.
Every person, regardless of where they live, should be able to access world-class cancer treatment at their doorstep.Mandurah mayor Rhys Williams
At the opening, Mr Williams said he was thankful patients in the Peel community now had access to state-of-the-art care close to home.
"Having to travel to another town for treatment is the last thing someone with cancer should have to think about," he said.
"Every person, regardless of where they live, should be able to access world-class cancer treatment at their doorstep.
"We have been waiting for a service like this here in Mandurah for such a long time and I am incredibly grateful to GenesisCare for investing in the health and wellbeing of our local community."
GenesisCare Oncology WA general manager Michael Davis said Mandurah was in need of the new, life saving services being provided by the comprehensive centre.
"GenesisCare was founded on the belief that care should be available when and where you need it, and it should be designed to help give you the best life outcomes possible. This is why we decided to provide these world class services in Mandurah," he said.
"Our aim was to create a purpose-built, fully integrated cancer centre which meets the growing needs of the local population.
"We are incredibly proud to be officially opening our doors to patients today and we look forward to working with the local community to make access to care as easy as possible."
We are incredibly proud to be officially opening our doors to patients today and we look forward to working with the local community to make access to care as easy as possible.GenesisCare Oncology WA general manager Michael Davis
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'.
Radiation oncologist and medical services director Dr Eugene Leong, who has been consulting in Mandurah since 2014, said he was proud to be a part of the team and changing the lives of so many Mandurah residents living with cancer.
"For some of our patients, where a cure is no longer possible, radiation therapy can play a key role in alleviating the debilitating symptoms of cancer and improving the patient's overall quality of life," he said.
"We have invested in the latest technology to expand our palliative radiation therapy options, which will make a huge difference to local patients and their families."
"As doctors, the greatest gift we can give to our palliative patients is quality time with their family and loved ones. This new centre is equipped to do just that."
- Behind the scenes: New Mandurah cancer treatment centre ready to open its doors | Photos
- Oncology centre to open in Mandurah in big boost for Peel cancer patients
- Mandurah's new cancer centre to be built on corner of Kookaburra Drive and Minilya Parkway
- Under construction: Peel's new world-class cancer treatment centre set to open within months
Mandurah resident Rose Burnett was one of the first patients to receive treatment at the new centre for breast cancer.
Ms Burnett was diagnosed in 2018 and underwent surgery at Peel Health Campus earlier this year before embarking on a month long journey of radiotherapy at GenesisCare.
"I'm so grateful because I was panicking that I would have to travel to Fiona Stanley which wouldn't have been very manageable because it would've knocked half my day off," she said.
"I don't know how I would've coped with driving back with the fatigue either - I thought I was going to breeze through it but the side effects of it knock you around and it's every day for 30 days.
"Trying to get through the recovery of breast cancer surgery as well as do radiotherapy, it was a lot."
Ms Burnett said, as one of the first patients to use the centre, she was made to feel extra special.
"On this journey, while you've got your friends and family around you, when you get the treatment you're on your own so to have such great staff around, it's been amazing," she said.
"The girls are so caring and bubbly and there's the coffee machine and treats which, when you're not feeling great, is so lovely.
"Plus it was like going into a spaceship because its all so new."
The new centre offers the latest technology and techniques in radiation therapy and chemotherapy, including an Elekta Versa HD linear accelerator with stereotactic capabilities.
It also provides treatments to improve the quality of life for palliative patients, will host specialist consultation rooms for cardiology, sleep and respiratory conditions and run survivorship and exercise clinics.
Private and public patients will be able to access the service, with a large portion of the cost of treatment covered by Medicare rebates.