REWARDING: Sarah Edwards and Dr Jacques Hill working with their Vietnamese colleagues.
REWARDING: Sarah Edwards and Dr Jacques Hill working with their Vietnamese colleagues.

Sharing the gift of good health

THE Mid North Coast Cancer Institute's radiation oncology team makes a difference to people's lives on the Coffs Coast, but its talented staff are also changing lives in Vietnam.

Team members visited the Coffs campus' sister site at Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City to help with the training and development of the hospital's radiation therapy techniques.

The main focus of the training was intensity-modulated radiation therapy, or IMRT.

Witnessing first-hand the treatment being delivered, the Coffs Harbour delegation followed up on a visit by the Vietnamese team last year that involved one month of training at Coffs campus.

"Our relationship with the Cho Ray department will benefit Vietnamese patients with improved outcomes and decreased side effects and we hope to build this relationship over the coming years," radiation therapist Kirsty Turnbull said.

Two years ago, a Coffs Harbour team, consisting of a radiation oncologist, physicist and radiation therapist, was invited to Cho Ray Hospital's radiation oncology department to assess its facilities, treatment procedures and training requirements.

Last year, the Coffs campus hosted four staff from Cho Ray Hospital for intense training in IMRT and a physicist and radiation therapist from Coffs visited Cho Ray.

Two of the leads on a project honoured at the health district Health Innovation Awards - Kirsty Turnbull and director of cancer services Professor Tom Shakespeare - were part of the consortium.

The pair's Prostate Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy in Seven Mouse Clicks project won the overall Governing Board Chair's Encouragement Award at the event.



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