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    TREATMENT: Dr Louise Gorman inspects Paul Granger as part of a new Stawell Austin Radiation Oncology Service. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Skin-cancer service available in Stawell

Austin Health and Stawell Regional Health officially opened the new Stawell Austin Radiation Oncology Service, SAROS, at Stawell Hospital yesterday.

Austin Health’s acting chief executive Shelley Castree-Croad said the service, which uses radiation therapy to treat patients with skin cancer, had been operating since late May.

 “The service uses the latest superficial x-ray therapy to treat skin cancer and other non-cancerous skin conditions and can save patients the need to go through surgery,” she said.

“Cancerous or damaged skin cells are more sensitive to radiation and are destroyed by the treatment, which is painless, non-invasive and provided at no cost to public patients.

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“The service has received crucial support from the State Government, which provided $250,000 to allow the purchase of radiation therapy equipment.” 

Ararat resident Judith Lawrence was one of the first patients to undergo treatment using the service.

“I was lucky really. First my hairdresser noticed that I had a sore behind my ear that was starting to bleed, the doctor did a biopsy and referred me to a dermatologist, but I could not afford that,” Ms Lawrence said.

“Then almost straight away Dr Gorman rang me to tell me about a brand-new program at Stawell with no waiting list and no cost. 

“I am very grateful to everyone at Stawell, they were really lovely.”

Stawell Regional Health chief executive Libby Fifis said Ms Lawrence would have previously had to travel to Ballarat to receive the same care she was able to receive at Stawell Hospital.

“The SAROS service is expanding the range of cancer services available at Stawell Regional Health and helping us to make the best possible care available to patients living in the Grampians and surrounding regions,” Ms Fifis said.

“Patients have not had access to radiation therapy in their local area before now and we hope this new service not only improves their health outcomes but also makes it much easier for the community to access this type of treatment.”

Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said the government had provided state-of-the-art radiotherapy equipment for Stawell district residents because it understood how important it was to be able to access world-class cancer care.

“Stawell patients can now access high-quality skin radiotherapy treatment, without the cost of expensive travel and time away from work and loved ones,” she said.

“This region’s first comprehensive skin-cancer service is open and already making a real difference for locals who are getting the care they need close to home.”

People seeking more information about the Stawell Austin Radiation Oncology Service or to make an appointment can call Ballarat Austin Radiation Oncology Centre on 5320 8600.

The entire September 4, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!