WORLD CLASS: Mackay cancer survivor Raelene Refalo and Icon Group CEO Mark Middleton with the new linear accelerator at the Mackay cancer centre.
WORLD CLASS: Mackay cancer survivor Raelene Refalo and Icon Group CEO Mark Middleton with the new linear accelerator at the Mackay cancer centre. Marty Strecker

$3m machine to save lives of Mackay residents

A $3 MILLION machine with the ability to save lives sits inside a concrete 'bunker' on Sams Road.

The state-of-the-art machine, a linear accelerator, is the jewel in the crown of Icon Group's new Mackay Cancer Centre and is capable of delivering 18,000 radiation therapy treatments a year to Mackay cancer sufferers.

Over the past six months, more than 100 construction workers have built the $20M facility from the ground up and within a few weeks, patients will begin receiving life-saving treatment at the site.

Icon Group CEO Mark Middleton said for the first time ever, Mackay residents will not have to travel to Brisbane or Townsville to access radiotherapy.

"Mackay is an area where patients are having to travel a long way to access radiotherapy and we don't think that's an acceptable position any more in Australia,” Mr Middleton said.

"We want to make sure we are delivering the best possible care to as many people as possible as close to home as possible.

"Leaving home while you are undergoing cancer treatment can have an enormous impact on not only the patient, but the patient's family members and everyone's lives.

"Most treatments now only take 10 minutes so you may have a patient who is in the department for a period of half an hour every day. If treatment facilities are close to home, people can access that care and get on with the rest of their lives.”

Describing the new facility as 'world class', Mr Middleton said it would essentially become a healthcare hub rivalling that of London and New York.

"This is a 5000sqm facility and there is only around 400sqm that is not spoken for. There will be a range of other healthcare providers, some diagnostic imaging providers and we hope to have lots of GPs and anything that makes sense for patients to be able to access care in the same facility,” he said.

"We have some of the latest technology available for both radiation oncology and medical oncology, we have a state of the art linear accelerator already installed here.

"We have eight chemotherapy chairs and we will have the capacity here to deliver up to 6000 treatment courses of chemotherapy a year and 18,000 delivery of radiation therapy treatments a year.

"We have two radiotherapy bunkers, we will start with one linear accelerator and as the need grows and demand for our services grow we have the capacity to have two linear accelerators here on site. Our demand analysis indicated that right now Mackay needed almost two of these machines.

"This is some of the most advanced technology in the world. Patients will be able to access techniques and technologies here that they would in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne or indeed London or New York.”

Mr Middleton said a team of 25 specialised staff, many of whom are relocating to Mackay, will be based at the centre initially with a forward growth estimate of around 40 staff



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