Your Cancer Treatment
At Calvary Mater Newcastle, we aim to make your cancer treatment as smooth as possible. You will benefit from no waiting time, no gap payment, access to a range of complementary health services, convenient parking and on-site accommodation. Read on for more information.
No waiting time
Generally, there is no waiting time above the normal time required for administration and accurate planning of your treatment. On occasions we may be very busy and there may be a longer wait before starting treatment. If this situation arises, your Radiation Oncologist will discuss your options with you.
There is no gap payment – your treatment is fully covered by Medicare or Veteran Affairs. Your only expenses may be related to travel and accommodation if this is needed. There may also be a cost if you require dietary supplements or additional medications. If you are experiencing any financial hardship please ask to see one of our Social Workers who may be able to help.
Access to all Allied Health services
Allied Health services include social work, nutrition and dietetics, speech pathology, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and psychology. These services are provided free of charge and are available on-site.
Free, convenient parking
We have a dedicated car park for people who are attending daily treatment. There is no charge for this car park. It is conveniently located adjacent to the Department of Radiation Oncology. The car park is on the same level as the department and has reserved spaces for people with a disability
If you have to travel a long way to have your radiation treatment you may qualify to stay in a room in the ‘Villas’, our on-site accommodation. Due to the high demand for these rooms, they are allocated on a needs basis. The majority of the cost is usually covered by the state government’s Isolated Patient Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS).
Information about your treatment
You will receive information by mail once your first appointment to see a Radiation Oncologist is made. This will usually include Cancer Council brochures and a DVD showing you around our department and answering some of your questions. You will receive further information when you attend your initial appointment in the department. Our staff will explain what to expect during treatment, including any side effects and how to deal with them.
What to expect – a brief outline
- Following referral from your GP or specialist, you will have an appointment with one of our Radiation Oncologists. The majority of our patients attend as outpatients – this initial consultation will be held in the Medical Centre. If you are admitted to hospital, the Radiation Oncologist will see you on the ward.
- The Radiation Oncologist will discuss treatment options with you. If you decide to proceed with radiation therapy you will be asked to sign a consent form. An appointment to attend for CT simulation will be made and you will be notified of this appointment by telephone, usually within two working days of your initial appointment.
- CT simulation occurs in our department on a CT scanner. If any preparation for the scan is required this will be discussed with you when you receive your appointment. Radiation Therapists will position you on the bed and reference marks and measurements will be made so that your position can be accurately reproduced for each of your treatment visits. You will then have a CT scan performed. This appointment can take between 15 minutes and 1 hour depending on what is required. The CT scan is used by the Radiation Oncologist to accurately identify the region of your body that requires treatment. At the end of this appointment you will be given your first treatment appointment.
- One of our Nurses will see you, either before or after your scan, to give you more information, particularly about caring for yourself while on treatment and how to prevent and manage any side effects. Please ask if you have questions.
- Your treatment is planned and quality checked by Radiation Therapists in conjunction with your Radiation Oncologist and the Medical Physicists. This process can take up to two weeks, occasionally longer: You will not need to attend our department during this time. The high skill level of your health care team plus our advanced quality assurance processes ensure that your treatment is designed and delivered very accurately using the latest technology and techniques.
- On your first day of treatment delivery you will receive more information from our Nurses and Radiation Therapists. They will check that you understood the information given previously, explain what will happen during treatment and answer any questions you may have.
- Your treatment is delivered by the Radiation Therapists. You will be positioned in the same position as you were in the CT scanner. For each appointment the treatment will usually take between 15 and 45 minutes depending on several factors including imaging (x-rays). Images of the treatment site are taken to confirm the accurate positioning of the treatment. The frequency of imaging depends on the treatment technique. When images are taken they will be checked before the treatment begins. This can add a few minutes to the time you are on the bed. The Radiation Therapists will explain this to you at the time.
- You will need to attend for treatment over several visits, any number from 1 to 39. Your Radiation Oncologist will discuss this with you when you first see them. The remainder of your appointment times will be given to you (as a printed list) on your first day of treatment. Whilst we try not to change appointments, sometimes it is unavoidable. We will always give you a revised printed list and explain the circumstances.
- You have access to all Allied Health services while in our care. These services are free and are available either in the department or in the hospital. Referrals may be made automatically because we have found excellent ways to support you through your treatment. You can ask to see one of the team at any time.
- Your progress and health will be monitored closely throughout your treatment by your team. You will have regular appointments with your doctor, nurse and allied health professionals and ample time to discuss any issues you may have. You are welcome to have a family member or friend accompany and support you during your visits.
- At the end of your course of treatment you will be given a follow-up appointment with either your Radiation Oncologist or with the referring doctor or specialist.
We hope that this information has been useful to you. If you have any questions please get in touch or ask any member of staff during your next visit. We are here to help you and to make your experience as comfortable and easy as possible.
If you have any suggestions to improve this web site or any part of our service, please let a staff member know.