Rockingham Cancer Centre offers technology protecting the heart from radiation

Rockingham Cancer Centre offers technology protecting the heart from radiation

KAREN Derrick was told she had cancer in December after she noticed a lump in her left breast that two routine mammograms did not detect.

Diagnosed early with stage 2 cancer, she was given a good prognosis and quickly booked for surgery at St John of God Hospital Subiaco.

A month later she began radiation therapy at the new Icon Cancer Centre on Rockingham’s Civic Boulevard.

With two weeks of treatment left to go, Mrs Derrick told Community News she was grateful to have a clinic close to her Baldivis home for the daily radiation treatment.

“My husband, Michael, had throat cancer six years ago and his only option was Genesis in Wembley,” she said.

Mrs Derrick is focussed on finishing her 20 sessions of radiation therapy to ring the bell hanging in the foyer of the Icon Cancer Centre that marks the end of her journey there.

“I think once you get diagnosed you want it out of your body as soon as possible,” she said.

“Medicare paid the bulk of the bill but I was about $1900 out of pocket which isn’t much when you factor in what you may have had to spend on fuel, lost time at work, or waiting times,” Mrs Derrick said.

The centre opened July last year with the goal of offering radiation and chemotherapy services closer to home.

Icon group chief executive Mark Middleton said the machine that delivers the radiation cost almost $3 million and requires specialist staff to operate it in a lead-lined room.

Perth has two of the group’s Australian centres – in Rockingham and Midland – and the Rockingham clinic is believed to be the only service in the southern corridor to offer technology that helps better protect the heart from radiation.

“This technology was once only available in capital cities in highly specialised facilities,” Mr Middleton said.

“All women should be able to access this care.”

The machine tracks the individual breathing pattern of the patient, applying radiation only when the left breast moves away from the heart upon a full breath.