Doctors win over prostate cancer

DOCTORS at the North Coast Cancer Institute (NCCI) are boasting a remarkable cure rate when it comes to treating prostate cancer.

They recently presented their findings at Australia's premier National Cancer Conference.

Two North Coast Area Health Service (NCAHS) radiation oncology registrars, Dr Ben Chua and Dr Myo Min, presented the results of the North Coast Cancer Institute study of prostate patients, who have been treated by Associate Professor Tom Shakespeare over the past few years.

Of the three talks given, two were selected for the prestigious Varian Prize session. This is a huge achievement for NCCI, as only the top quality papers are selected for this session.

“For NCCI to be presenting two out of the nine Varian Prize talks is outstanding, and a testament to our trainees' hard work,” Prof Shakespeare said.

“Even more outstanding were the results of our care.”

One paper, which was a review of 202 North Coast prostate cancer patients treated with radiotherapy up until November 2009, showed a cure rate of 98.3 per cent

This compared to data reported by other institutions showing cure rates of only 80 per cent.

Prof Shakespeare's patients were from the area between Forster in the south to Lismore and Tweed in the north.

“This goes a long way in proving that rural and regional cancer centres are capable of delivering complex care with excellent results,” he said.

“Our prostate patients are all treated with intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT).

“These complex techniques are the reason our results seem to be so much better than other centres.

“Most metropolitan radiotherapy centres are still working toward what we have been doing since we opened our doors.”

However, the doctors at the NCCI are not resting on their laurels.

“We are planning to update our results next year and are aiming to present the cure rates of the first 1000 prostate patients we have treated.”

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