North Coast Cancer Institute, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour and Lismore
The North Coast Cancer Institute is part of the Northern NSW Local Health District. It provides integrated cancer services to the North Coast NSW residents at Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour and Lismore.
The region is known for its uncrowded beaches, lakes and diverse waterways. Residents can surf, fish, sail, canoe, kayak, scuba dive and ocean swim in winter and summer. Plentiful water provides a tropical environment with abundant organic produce, rainforests and lush hinterland. Between mountain ranges and coast are national parks with camping options including well known South West Rocks. World Heritage Forests and unique village lifestyles abound locally and easy access to air, rail and roal travel provides the links to major cities within and outside of Australia.
The North Coast has attracted a curious mix of hippies, surfers, rich urbanites, actors and artists. Their influence is apparent at weekend markets where you can buy fabulous arts and crafts and in towns such Bellingen with studios, boutiques, award winning restaurants and tours by acclaimed musicians. Seaside cafes at Sawtell in Coffs Harbour, Lighthouse Beach in Port Macquarie and teh viallages of the Northern Rivers, including Byron Bay, make it possible to combine urban pleasures with outdoor relaxation. Each city features on the national food and wine scene thanks to award winning wineries and restaurants.
Families are well serviced with a variety of good schools and available child care. Affordable housing is available with ready access to natural environment for recreation. There are also many entertainment options such as cinemas, theatre, excellent sporting facilities and welcoming junior sports clubs, horse riding, camel safaris, ice skating and koala parks.
The investment in health facilities has seen a new generation of young health professionals move to the area. Southern Cross University and the rural clinical schools of University of NSW and University of Newcastle also provide employment for professionals.
Entertainment options include joining in with the huge triathlon scene that peaks with the Port Macquarie Triathlon event in April each year. Driving commutes are short and aided by free parking everywhere.
You are invited to join the team and see for yourself what this coastal lifestyle can offer you.
Each site is identically equipped with a Siemens Sensation Open CT-simulator, CMS computer planning, MOSAIQ electronic data management and dual energy Elekta Synergy linac with on-board KV cone beam CT imaging. Radiotherapy planning and treatment workflow is completely electronic. Radiotherapy services commenced at Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbhour in 2007 with active IMRT and IGRT practices providing research opportunities. Lismore commenced in May 2010. Current development centres around biologically optimised dosimetry planning and future plans include Gated treatment. Gulmay superficial / orthovoltage X-ray units are also available at each site complimenting the capabilities.
The NCCI buildings dedicated cancer service buildings adjacent to the main hospitals. The facilities at each site include Medical Oncology and Haematology. Integration between the centres is supported with shared databases, servers and videoconferencing. The range of cancer services are supported by first class patient and staff friendly facilities including pharmacy, allied health, multidisciplinary meetings, palliative care and patient support groups. Self-catering motel style accommodation for patients and families is on site.
The radiation oncology service is lead by a small dynamic team of senior management made up of:
• Director of Area Cancer Services for the North Coast region and Radiation Oncologist (A/Prof Tom Shakespeare)
• Area Chief RT / Manager Radiation Therapy (Stuart Greenham)
• Area Chief Physicist and Radiation Safety Officer (Andrew Kovendy)
There are currently 8 physicists and 37 Radiation Therapists employed with increased staff number expected as further expansion continues. Futher developments include the provision of local MRI services and a PET-CT scanner at Lismore.
NCCI emphasises quality and evidence based practice and treats a significant proportion of patients with IMRT and IGRT which are known to reduce treatment related toxicities. CT based planning develops skills in contouring, inverse and forward planning. Management and monitoring of treatment related side effects is encouraged using electronic recording of toxicities.
Research and Education
The NCCI Clinical Tutor & Research Radiation Therapist organises weekly Research & Quality meetings where all staff are encouraged to participate.
Staff from Southern Cross University have provided training and education in research skills. A dedicated IT Radiation Therapist supports the electronic environment and qualiity and research projects through the comprehensive reporting from Mosaiq. Participation in suitable clinical trials, research and technical development programs is encouraged. Physics staff are actively engaged in research and development of advanced Quality Assurance and dosimetry methods.
RT and Physics staff are encouraged to be involved in multidisciplinary research, postgraduate courses and continuing professional education.
Links with other Health Services
To ensure NCCI patients receive the latest treatment and technologies for cancer, links with major centres are developing. These links support ongoing development and enhancement of local services and training of specialist oncology staff.
North Coast Cancer Institute
Locked Bag 812
Coffs Harbour NSW 2450
Prof Tom Shakespeare
Director, Area Cancer Services
Ph: +61 2 6656 5125
Manager, Radiation Therapy
Ph: +61 2 6656 5760
Updated July 2011