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Advanced cancer treatment for Southerners

Hon Tony Ryall

Minister of Health

23 August 2013       Media Statement       

Advanced cancer treatment for Southerners

A high tech linear accelerator machine, unveiled by Health Minister Tony Ryall in Dunedin today, will deliver advanced forms of radiotherapy treatment for cancer patients.

A linear accelerator delivers a uniform dose of high energy radiation to a tumour, destroying cancer cells.

“This $6.3 million machine is the 10th linear accelerator approved since 2009. It replaces an 18 year old machine and will significantly boost Southern District Health Board’s ability to deliver high quality radiotherapy treatment to its patients,” says Mr Ryall. 

“This new machine, known as the TrueBeam, is so advanced it can deliver radiation with pinpoint accuracy, causing less damage to surrounding tissue. It also has a greater range of beam energies and increased dose rates which reduces how long it takes for patients to receive their treatment.

“It took 15 months to prepare for and install the new machine. The old machine had to be removed, the bunker was extensively remodelled, and then the new machine was installed and tested. 

“During this time, the Southern Blood and Cancer Centre team worked extended hours and weekend shifts to ensure patients ready for radiotherapy received it within four weeks.

“Faster cancer treatment is a priority for this National-led Government. Waiting times for radiation treatment have reduced from 18 weeks in 2008, to a maximum of four weeks today.

“We want patients to have even faster access to a specialist once cancer is suspected, and then faster access to treatment once there is a confirmed diagnosis. We are investing $33 million over four years to further reduce wait times and deliver better cancer services,” says Mr Ryall.

ENDS

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