Dubbo oncologist says cancer patients turning away treatment

TENDER LET: Dubbo Hospital medical oncologist Dr Florian Honeyball, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard and the hospital's oncology nurse unit manager Timothy Williams hold an artist's impressions of the Western Cancer Centre. Photo: KIM BARTLEY

TENDER LET: Dubbo Hospital medical oncologist Dr Florian Honeyball, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard and the hospital's oncology nurse unit manager Timothy Williams hold an artist's impressions of the Western Cancer Centre. Photo: KIM BARTLEY

"Every day" Dubbo medical oncologist Dr Florian Honeyball sees cancer patients who choose not to have treatment.

But an announcement on the grounds of Dubbo Hospital on Wednesday has made him optimistic about saving more lives in the west.

Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders was joined by visiting NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard in announcing that Sydney-based Lipman Pty Ltd had won the contract to build the $35 million Western Cancer Centre.

Dr Honeyball was on hand for the announcement having played a part in a community campaign led by the Jimmy Little Foundation and Dubbo West Rotary Club to secure the long-awaited facility.

An artist's impression of the $35 million Western Cancer Centre. Image: Contributed

An artist's impression of the $35 million Western Cancer Centre. Image: Contributed

"It's good to know that the cancer centre is progressing and it looks like the $35 million build will go ahead in the foreseeable future," he said.

"I think it is a step closer to being able to develop a comprehensive cancer service for the people not just of Dubbo but the entire Western NSW."

Dr Honeyball said the cancer centre would be able to care for almost all cancer patients in the city and further west.

"There still will be a need to travel to larger centres such as Sydney or Newcastle for sub-specialty surgery but we will be able to do the vast majority of everything else here in Dubbo," he said.

The medical oncologist said the cancer centre would be "state-of-the-art" with 16 new chemotherapy chairs, a linear accelerator and a wellness centre offering non-medical treatments.

It would be the hub for the new remote video-assisted chemotherapy unit and the clinical trials unit in Western NSW, he said.

The cancer cancer will also offer PET CT scans to people from across the huge Western NSW Local Health District.

Dubbo Hospital currently provides chemotherapy at its Alan Coates Cancer Centre.

Dr Honeyball also heads up outreach chemotherapy in the western region.

He says the cancer centre will "definitely save lives because people will choose to have treatment."

"Every day I see people not just in Dubbo but further afield who choose not to have treatment because it's too hard," he said.

"It's too hard to leave families, too hard to leave support structures and travel for treatments.

"Being able to provide everything here in Dubbo increases the likelihood that people will choose to have curative, life-extending or potentially symptom-helping treatments for their cancers."

Work on the cancer centre will begin in 2020 on the footprint of the hospital's old renal unit, set to be demolished.

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A new renal unit, being built by Lipman Pty Ltd, will be operational in a month.

The doors of the cancer centre will open in 2021 with the state government contributing $10 million to the project and the federal government $25 million.

This story Cancer centre a lifeline for patients choosing to die in the west first appeared on Daily Liberal.

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