There has been some media coverage in NSW this last day or so following Cancer Council reporting on problems patients experience when accessing radiotherapy http://www.cancercouncil.com.au The media stories, like this one, emphasise the challenges of travelling for treatment, amongst other things - http://www.smh.com.au/national/limited-radiotherapy-services-add-to-cancer-trauma-20091120-iqvl.html In the course of doing media interviews, one journo told me that the government's response to our report was that in a few years, "90% of the population will live within 100kms of treatment". It made me wonder - does this mean it is ok for patients to travel 60, 80 or 100kms for treatment? And surely not all 100kms are equal? Won't some of these journeys still be harder and take longer for some? What does it mean to you to travel up to 100kms for treatment?
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Super Contributor
I would hate to have to travel 100kms for treatment. I have just done 200kms for treatment on a weekly basis at one stage and it was incredibly tiring on top of having chemo. In fact it made me think of those that live a little closer and how much harder it would be for them. For instance, i live in bunbury west aus and i can stay overnight and that will be covered by pats. Those that live a little up the road from me at mandurah, are expected to travel daily. Now as far as i know they are covered by pats for travel but they are unable to stay overnight. That would be incredibly time consuming and tiring. How is one supposed to keep working if they are expected to travel so far? Most of the travel is done in groups with vehicles supplied by the cancer council i think. It is time consuming because you have to wait for everyone else to complete their appointments also, then of course the time spent travelling etc.....
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Not applicable
Hi Jules2 - I think you raise some really important practical challenges facing people who need to travel for treatment. Glad to hear that your 200kms trips are behind you. Thanks.
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Super Contributor
Hi Anita Thanks, those points are not mine alone. I observed plenty in the 7.5 weeks i spent away from home and just about every other person that was staying at Milroy had experienced similar difficulties. Of course it then branches off a little more as you put individuals into the equasion. It is just part of the challenges that are faced by country patients. The country patient aspect really is something that needs to be addressed differently to how it currently is. 🙂 Thank you for raising this discussion. Julie
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Frequent Contributor
Hi Anita, Initially I had to travel 1500km's for my treatment, from Byron Bay to Melbourne, as QLD would not take me because I was from NSW. Instead Melbourne was selected as the best place to go (over Sydney) as my mum was from Albury (which is 300km from Melbourne and 560km from Sydney). I had no choice but to treated in a major city due to my cancer type - acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Even though I was in hospital for a very long time, I needed a full time carer, and that was my mum. She had to pack up her house and travel 300km's to be by my side for over 1 and a half years. Regional and remote-based people in Australia are at a great disadvantage when it comes to health. To hear that the governments solution is based on a future projected demographical migration angers me. I don't want to live in a crowded city...competing for space, time and clean air. I chose to live in a regional centre for a balanced life. I contribute my taxes just like a city based person does, so I don't see why people who choose to live outside major cities should be fighting for life when confronted by a life threatening illness, like cancer.
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Super Contributor
it really does challenge us in so many ways and maslows hierarchy comes to mind and it can impact greatly on a country patient. I have witnessed one patient whose treatment was impacted on, because he was suffering from depression and simply not coping and therefor not looking after himself as well as he could have done. There is no telling what the long term impact will be on him. Is it any wonder that country patients do not fare as well as city ones?
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Not applicable
Nikki - the issue of impact on carers is definitely something that needs more attention, as your story shows. Thanks and congrats on the safe arrival of Finn!
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Frequent Contributor
Yes it is often the carers doing most of the travelling getting us patients to and from treatment and/or driving to get us things like food, meds and attending complimentary appointments etc. Finn is great, thanks Anita. I wish there was a photo sharing functionality on this site to show him off a bit more 🙂 may be one day....
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Deceased
G'day Anita Down here in that great southern state we seem to have done a pretty good job of regionalising radiotherapy (Except, of course on the border between that neighbour of ours north of the River - Wodonga is private - fees up front,no bulk billing and significant out of pocket expenses!). It doesn't remove the problem of distance however, nor the problem of IPTAS limited to 100 km. Many people are having to travel > 100 km to get to a regional cancer centre. Nikki is correct in that there are still many people who will have to go to a major metropolitan centre because of the nature of the disease. However, access to radiotherapy is not only a NSW problem or a rural problem. Here in Victoria private radiotherapy has gone into the most socioeconomically disadvantaged areas: North Eastern Victoria; Frankston; Footscray and Epping on the northern outskirts of Melbourne. People get treated not knowing that it is a private facility then get confronted with bills typically $6 - 8,000, or in North Eastern Victoria opt for less than best practice treatment rather than have to travel to Melbourne or Bendigo. So we still need a national approach to both the location of radiotherapy centres and IPTAS. It is reather sad that the NSW government is letting a private facility be put into Bathurst/Orange, the area that really suffers from lack of adequate facilities. Cheers Sailor If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable. - Seneca
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Super Contributor
oh spam again?
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Super Contributor
ahhhh annie ... now why would we need a home loan calculator??? spam alert again 😄 😄 😄
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Not applicable
Hi All, My name is Felix and I am one of the administrators of the Cancer Connections website. Just to let you all know that the recent Spam posts in this thread have been removed from the website as they breach the stated conditions of use for the site. The user has also been blocked from posting further comments. Kind regards, Felix
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