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Introduction to Oncology Care Program at Sunshine Hospital

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This annual report is a summary of activities in sunshine Hospital, suggestions that were brought up by the cancer committee, the cancer services that are available at the hospital and a look at other cancer activities that went on in the sunshine hospital. The cancer program is a partnership between Western Health and Peter MacCallum Cancer centre. It is the first centre to provide public radiotherapy services to the people of Melbourne’s West and it reduced the number of people travelling to East Melbourne to seek cancer treatment. The center has two high energy VMAT capable linacs with an on board imaging, they also have a massive bore CT scanner and an orthovoltage machine. In a year it’s expected to treat at least 900 patients.

The cancer committee of Sunshine hospital

The cancer committee of Sunshine hospital is composed of individuals from different disciplines and fields of medicine. It consists of active members of staff representing Gynecology, internal medicine, oncology and surgery. Other non- physician members come from various fields such as Administration, Nursing, Dietary, Medical records, Hospice and the cancer registry. The cancer committee meets regularly to come up with ideas and ways to raise cancer awareness, new equipments to detect cancer and new developments on cancer treatments. They establish yearly goals and priorities as they discuss cancer related activities in the Sunshine radiotherapy centre in St. Albans. The committee members include;

  1. Barbara Rush- American cancer society
  2. Dr Michael Sedgley- Gynecology
  3. Dr Arlene-Wake Executive director medical services
  4.  Dr. Gurava Reddy- Surgery
  5. Dr. John Violet- Site director and Radiation Oncologist
  6. Dr. Kathy Pope MBBS FRANZCR- Breast, Lung and palliative radiotherapy
  7. Dr. Vannessa Estall FRANZCR- skin/melanoma, CNS
  8. Kathryn crook- Chief executive officer
  9. Kethly Fallon -Director of nursing
  10. Ms Natasha Toohey- Director Allied Health

The major goals of the cancer program include;

  • To increase the capacity of patients treated in the West Melbourne
  • To bring cancer treatment closer to home for patients living in the region.
  • To ensure that patients get quality and improved care by using a multi disciplinary approach in the management of cancer.
  • To make sure that the facilities exceed the Diagnostic Accreditation Scheme standards of 2010.
  • To reduce the death rate caused by cancer and its related ailments.
  • To make sure the residents receive quality and affordable cancer treatment.

The Sunshine Hospital have come up with various methods to make sure that their goals are achieved such as coming up with free clinic screening for common cancers such as breast cancers. They have also made sure that their equipment is of a state of the art to ensure early detection of tumors which cannot be detected by ordinary equipments. Finally, they have come up with new nursing techniques to ensure that the terminally ill patients are treated with care and diligence. The management and all staff of sunshine are dedicated to make sure that their goals are realized and to work closely with Peter MacCallum Cancer centre to serve the residents.

Oncology Program Narrative Report

2011 statistics for Sunshine Hospital

Staff of the cancer registry collects data regarding cancer patients who have been treated or diagnosed at the hospital and analyzes the data to know the nitty gritty and the steps to take. The information obtained is used to help in assessing the quality of the care provided in the hospital’s cancer centre. In the Sunshine Radiotherapy centre, radiotherapy is issued for eight weeks and in other cases a combination of other treatment regimes such as chemotherapy is advised. The total number of cases that have been presented in the radiotherapy center is around 590 cases since it began its operation. West Melbourne has a higher prevalence of cancer and the most common cancers are breast, lung, prostate and bowel cancer. The total number of cancer cases in 2011 was 590. Male patients who were diagnosed amounted to 275 which are 46.7% of the total cancer patients while the females were 315 which amounted to 53.3% of the total cancer cases presented in the hospital. There was also referral from other hospitals totaled to 30 patients. Lung cancer is leader in the list of cancers diagnosed followed by colon cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer and lastly stomach cancer. Most of the cancer patients were diagnosed with cancer when it was at the regional stage totaling to 39% of all cancer patients while the diagnosed at the IN situ stage were very minimal and totaled to 7%. The mean age at which the cancer was most profound is between ages from 40 to 60 that totaled to 38%.

Overview of the oncology program standards

The oncology program is of high quality with state of the art equipment. The center opened in early 2011 with high energy VMAT capable linacs and a high resolution imaging, a state of the art CT scanner and two linear accelerators that wouldl detect the most common cancers found in the region such as breast, lung, bowel and prostate cancer and other types of uncommon cancers. The centre while using the new linacs has doubled the capacity of the number of patients they take in.

Overview of pertinent accreditation and governmental requirements

Accreditation of cancer programs ensures that the facilities that have been accredited can voluntarily commit to provision of the best cancer diagnosis and treatment. Accreditation also ensures that government requirements are met and adhered to.

Pertinent accreditation and government requirements include;

  • Quality care close to home; this is to ensure that the residents of that region will receive treatment without travelling a long distance and treatment that is of high quality.
  • Care that is comprehensive- this is care that is of various ranges using state of the art facilities.
  • Access to cancer information; - this ensures that the patients are well informed about their disease and how they can control it.
  • Patient centered services; - the services include psychological review, distress screening and overview.
  • Information on clinical trials; the centers should provide the patients with information regarding any clinical trials and leave it upon the patient to decide whether he will take it up.
  • The center should have a multidisciplinary team approach; this is to ensure that the cancer patients receive various ranges of treatment and ideas of different disciplines. Through the team, the patients are able to receive the best cancer treatment possible.
  • A well Monitoring system; the system will ensure that patients receiving treatment are monitored to see how they react with the medication.
  • Follow up care; - there should be a follow up care at the completion of treatment and it should also include a survivor care plan.
  • Establishment of a cancer registry;- the registry will ensure that any data concerning cancer patients is collected and analyzed so as to forge the way forward concerning the disease.

Overview of CTR responsibilities

Coding scheme

The coding scheme used by the Sunshine Hospital radiotherapy center is by using numbers such as code 1, code 2 and code 3.

Staging guidelines

Staging guidelines are used to identify how far a cancer has spread from its place of origin. Staging is useful toan oncologist as it helps him/her to come up with a treatment plan and to predict his patient’s prognosis. The guidelines used by the Sunshine Radiotherapy center is the summary staging system whereby it is based on the extent of the tumor, the cancer is also inspected if it has spread to the nearby lymph nodes  and whether there has been a spread to other parts of the body. The tumors are described as being either stage in situ, localized, regional, distant and unknown Whereby;

  • In situ means that the cancer cells is still in the layer of cells in which they developed. 
  • Localized: - the cancer is within the original place where it started and there is no evidence of it having spread.
  • Regional means that the disease is extensive; there is a larger tumor size, spread of the cancer to nearby lymph nodes and to the adjacent organ to the place where the original tumor was located.
  • Distant means that the cancer has spread to another organ(s)
  • Unknown; here, information that is available cannot help determine the stage of the cancer presented.

Use of cancer registry data

The staff of the cancer registry collects the data of the patients and manages, analyzes it so as to form good choices and ideas on the way forward. The cancer registry data is used by physicians to ensure they follow up on their patients after treatment, this way; the patients are exposed to quality assessment and treatment in every aspect of their disease. The data of new patients is also sent to the Australian Cancer registry for recorded keeping and further research to find out why the prevalence or their respective causes overtime. The data is also sent to the national cancer database whereby an annual review of patient care is done to ensure that quality care is provided, a summary report of the Sunshine hospital’s care patterns is compared to other hospitals nationally. The collected data from the cancer registry is used to evaluate ranges of therapies and their outcomes, hence oncologists can strategically plan their treatment regimes of their cancer patients.

Graph 1

Conclusion

Cancer is a set of diseases that are very complex. Cancer centers such as The Sunshine Hospital Radiotherapy centre have to come up with ways to diversify and come up with more accurate ways to diagnose and treat cancer, clinical trials with new treatments and thorough research that is aimed at improving the quality of care and treatment in the cancer patients. The proximity of the cancer center is a major advantage as patients no longer have to travel all the way to the East to get medical care. The state of the art equipment is also an added bonus to the patients as it is easy to diagnose cancer while it is on its early stages. In addition to the ACHS Accreditation, the aged care services offered by Sunshine Hospital are accredited by the Aged Care and Accreditation Agency. This national body ensures that our aged population receives the best care that is possible in the region. With their normal routine of unannounced assessors, the hospital has received visits from assessors within the past year and no issues have been identified. (n.a)(2011)

Sunshine Hospital Radiotherapy centre remains committed to a high standard of caring for its cancer patients. This includes very improved prognosis, up to date staging guidelines and monitoring the cancer patient throughout the treatment to ensure every activity is done to par. This is evidenced in the four bunker radiotherapy facility at the hospital. The hospital has an action plan to increase the cancer survival rate by a further 15% by the year 2015. Sunshine Radiotherapy Centre is a place to be for cancer patients as each patient’s treatment is personalized for the better good of the patient. The oncologists are best qualified and provide information to the patient as well their families on issues regarding the patient’s cancer. The state of the art equipment helps to detect the cancer at the early stage, hence, it increases chances to cure it. Here in Sunshine Radiotherapy center we believe that cancer is not a death sentence and it can be cured, controlled and prevented. 

The sunshine hospital is now dedicated to education of the larger public on the prevalent causes of cancer, how to prevent other avoidable cancers and provides counseling to families whose members have been diagnosed with cancer. Follow up procedures have been put in place to ensure that the patients who have undergone treatment are being taken care of by checking their response to treatment and planning for the next course of treatment. Survivors are also not forgotten as a survivor care program has been put in place to ensure that the cancer survivors are well taken care of and live healthy to avoid re-occurrence of the disease.

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