Personalised treatment to meet your needs
We are deeply committed to making things easier and improving the quality of life for our patients, their families and carers at every stage of their cancer experience. To become a patient of Chris O’Brien Lifehouse requires a referral from a GP or other specialist to one of our Lifehouse specialists.
Wellness and prevention
Prevention is much better than cure, and with the right information, we can all take steps to minimise our risk of developing cancer. There are a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce your risk of cancer, such as:
- Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and regular exercise
- Quitting smoking
- Reducing alcohol intake
- Being sun smart
Wellness is crucial not only in the prevention of cancer, but in every stage of a cancer experience. Healthy eating and regular physical activity can significantly alleviate symptoms of cancer and its treatments, and optimise health, quality of life and treatment outcomes.
Our integrative oncologist and supportive care specialists can advise on lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of cancer. Visit the Lifehouse LivingRoom to find out more about a holistic medical consultation.
To detect cancer early, you should see your GP promptly if you notice any changes in your body, or attend a screening program if it’s recommend for you.
Screening involves testing for cancer before you experience symptoms. Most cancers, if detected in the early stages, are easier to treat.
The Australian Government recommends that:
- Women aged 50-69 should have a mammogram every two years
- Women aged 18-70 should have a cervical screening test every five years
- Men and women over 50 should use a bowel cancer test kit once a year
If one of your immediate family members has had cancer, speak to your GP about your individual risk. Visit Cancer Council Australia for more information on screening.
After a diagnosis
A cancer diagnosis can be a physical, mental and emotional challenge but it is not necessarily a death sentence. Many cancers can be treated and patients can go on to live long, full lives.
Deciding on treatment may be stressful or overwhelming. It is often helpful to write down any questions you and your carers may have before your appointment. Take notes, record the discussion or take a loved one with you to discuss the issues.
Cancer comes in many forms and there a number of different treatment methods that are used. Depending on your cancer type, a treatment plan may include one or more of the following treatments.
Chemotherapy, hormonal therapies and targeted therapies
These are drugs that are used to treat cancer and they are delivered in a variety of ways. Most common is as a liquid through a drip into a vein (intravenously) or an injection, but they can be taken as tablets or capsules. Because these drugs circulate through the entire body, they can cause side effects as they interfere with other bodily processes. Side effects are closely monitored during treatment, and measures can be taken to help control these effects.
Evidence shows that complementary therapies such as acupuncture, oncology massage and reflexology can help ease side effects of cancer treatment. For more information on evidence-based complementary therapies, visit the Lifehouse LivingRoom. To learn more on the types of side effects you may experience, read this informative guide from the Cancer Council.
Radiation therapy uses high energy X-rays to target and kill cancer cells. Modern radiation therapy technology and techniques allow us to target the cancer with extreme accuracy, ensuring minimal damage to surrounding healthy organs and tissue.
In some cases, the effects of cancer can last long after treatment is over and many cancer survivors and their families face enduring physical, mental and emotional challenges. It is not uncommon for someone who has survived cancer to make some life changes once treatment is finished. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle after cancer treatment can help you reduce the risk of cancer returning.
Our team in the Lifehouse LivingRoom are specialists across a variety allied health services and integrative oncology therapies, which help to restore your physical, social, cognitive and emotional health to promote a high quality of life.
Cancer Council NSW offers a wealth of information about surviving cancer, including the Living Well after Cancer program, a free community education program held throughout New South Wales, with trained cancer survivors.
Living with advanced cancer
Advanced cancer often can’t be cured, but it can be controlled. This is known as palliative treatment – treatment that is not aimed at curing the cancer, but stopping or slowing the spread, or relieving the side effects of your cancer and maintaining your quality of life. Palliative care incorporates a range of services offered by medical, nursing and allied health professionals, as well as volunteers and informal carers.
The knowledge that an illness may not be curable can provide the opportunity for you to decide what is most important to you. Concentrating on what is achievable and enjoyable can help.
You may find discussing feelings with someone close can help too. Maybe a family member or friend, a nurse or carer, or a religious or spiritual leader. We offer a range of services to help you and your family manage the emotional impacts of advanced cancer, including psych-oncology, patient advocacy and spiritual support services.
Our multidisciplinary Lifehouse LivingRoom team can help you navigate the side effects of living with advanced cancer, helping to improve your well being and quality of life through a wide range of services.
Financial and legal issues
A cancer diagnosis can cause financial difficulties, but you don’t need to face these alone. It is also a good idea to consider any potential legal issues that may arise. There is practical advice and support available to help patients and their families through these challenges.
There is a wealth of information and support available to help patients and their families through a cancer diagnosis. You can also ask your GP or a social worker for help or you can speak to our patient liaison manager.