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Cancer patient gives new Maitland centre tick of approval

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“Anyone who doesn’t try to utilise GenesisCare’s integrated cancer care centre and research hub in Maitland is crazy” says Medowie’s Michael Callaghan.

The retired chef was one of the first patients to receive treatment at the new facility, after previously travelling daily to Newcastle to undergo radiation therapy.

The Metford premises, which officially opened this week ahead of World Cancer Day on 4 February, has the capacity to treat more than 1,500 people a year.

Patients will be able to access radiation therapy, medical oncology, advanced imaging, pathology and allied health services in one convenient location.

“They brought me here from Gateshead because I live at Medowie,” Mr Callaghan said.

“The accessibility is great for the whole of the Hunter region.

“For someone who resides north of the Hexham Bridge, it’s such an easy journey.

“From Medowie, it’s one set of traffic lights and just 20 minutes in the car.

“And, for so many other localities – such as Kurri Kurri, for instance – it is going to be so beneficial for them.

“It will save people a trip into Newcastle.

“My experience at Gateshead had been flawless – from the reception staff through to the radiation therapists and my doctor.

“But, I was pretty excited when I found out I could access the same excellent care and team right on my doorstep in Maitland.

“I could not complain about any stage of the whole program I went through over the past month.”

The 70-year-old was diagnosed with prostate cancer in early November, started treatment in December and finished up on 8 January.

“I’m lucky, I got in early,” Mr Callaghan told the Newcastle Weekly.

“And, that’s so vital – don’t wait.

“I’ve got a wife, a family and a lot to look forward to.

“I had the tests, which came out positive, and was recommended to see Jarad Martin.

“Everything I heard about him (when he spoke on the radio) and from what I read suggested he was a brilliant person.

“So, I thought, I couldn’t be in better hands.

“That’s how I ended up here.

“I feel as good as I did well before I started the treatment.

“During the process, there were the usual pains and stuff, which is understandable with radiation.

“However, it’s just over a month now and everything’s settled right down.

“But, early detection’s the key.

“So, people need to take advantage of this wonderful facility.”

GenesisCare’s integrated cancer care centre and research hub is home to a highly-advanced linear accelerator, capable of delivering the latest radiation therapy treatment techniques, as well as a high-resolution PET-CT scanner used for cancer detection, monitoring and treatment planning.

Patients will also have access to VMAT (Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy), for non-melanoma skin cancers, including basal cell carcinomas (CCC) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCC).

GenesisCare’s NSW Oncology general manager Fergus Rourke said the facility was tailored to meet the needs of the community.

“We want to provide the patient with the best possible outcome,” he explained.

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