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This week, Princess Alexandra Hospital’s (PAH) Radiation Oncology Unit celebrated two major milestones—15 years of service and more than 20,000 patients treated.
Since opening in 2002, the unit has more than doubled in size and has become Queensland's leading centre for radiation therapy research and innovation.
Radiation oncology is a type of cancer treatment that uses advanced machinery to produce high-energy x-rays to safely target and treat cancer.
Acting Director Radiation Therapy Services Michael Jenkins said due to the advancements in technology over the last 15 years, patients experienced fewer side-effects and had shorter treatment times.
“Since the unit opened, every piece of equipment we have has been replaced. That shows how quickly the technology has evolved,” he said.
The PAH unit’s state-of-the-art equipment included five linear accelerator machines, a Gamma Knife (used to non-invasively treat brain cancer) and two CT scanners.
“With the new technology that has been introduced, we are able to treat the cancer while keeping the rest of the patient’s body safe.”
While the equipment has all been replaced the staff have not, with seven of the original staff members still employed at PAH including Michael Jenkins, Professor Bryan Burmeister, Dr Jennifer Harvey, Jennie Baxter, Heath Foley, Ryan Lusk and Jennifer Hume.
Senior Radiation Therapist Jennifer Hume said it was the patient-focused service and staff culture that motivated her to stay.
“It’s amazing that a number of the staff are celebrating 15 years of service—it’s a testament to the supportive work environment we have established here and the innovative practice,” she said.
“We always come together as a team to provide the best care and we are always looking at ways to improve the service.”