Warrnambool has been chosen to participate in an international clinical trial after the South West Regional Cancer Centre opens.
South West Oncology associate professor Ian Collins and medical oncologist Terri Hayes said Warrnambool was only one of 20 Australian sites selected for the breast cancer drug trial.
“From a clinical trial point of view it’s a very exciting possibility in terms of a new breast cancer drug,” Professor Collins said.
Sites in Europe, America and New Zealand will also be involved in the international trial, which will begin in a few months.
“Having a cancer centre here makes us able to attract bigger and more exciting trials,” he said.
“There’s 20 sites in Australia and they chose Warrnambool so lots of people have missed out on it.”
Dr Hayes said previously participants would have had to travel to larger cities to participate in a trial of its kind.
The pair said Warrnambool had participated in clinical trials for about six years but nothing of this magnitude.
“We have been running clinical research for some time and now it’s just part of that amalgamation that all the services are on the one site,” she said.
“Our profile is improving so we can do it.”
Associate professor Collins said the growing centre would also help to attract more specialist doctors to the region.
The pair moved into the new centre on Monday and said the interconnection between radiotherapists, oncologists, haematologists and support services would make liaising between them all easier.
“It’s much more beneficial than I thought it would be,” Associate professor Collins said.
“Apart from the fact patients don’t have to travel for radiation, because we're all together it gives us more options for casual discussion to maximise the multi-disciplinary aspect of it,” he said.
Dr Hayes agreed and said it made the process much smoother and it was “easier to get that opinion in a collegiate way”.
Accessing results, discussing treatment plans across different sites “can be a long step-by-step process, whereas this is much more efficient,” he said.
Patients can also access support staff including allied health, the breast care nurse, therapists and other complementary services, such as massage in the one spot.
“We’re looking at a more holistic centre because we have got the capacity now,” Dr Hayes said.
Patients are also less likely to ‘slip through the cracks’.
“It’s out of mind out of site sometimes when you have treatment far away, but here we’re very close to sight,” Dr Hayes said.
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