14 March 2016
This time last year, this cancer centre fully opened supported by the Governor General, Prime Minister, former Prime Minister, Premier and Ministers, and Gail O’Brien, widow of Chris O’Brien, and hundreds of supporters and staff.
I am delighted to share with you the growth and achievements of our fledgling cancer centre since.
Our new $4.4 million surgical robot, funded by our generous supporters, is now being used to bring futuristic, less invasive operations to our patients. We have just started a $5 million research project using flu-fighting techniques to fight cancer.
As Australia’s only not-for-profit, independent comprehensive cancer centre specialising in advanced cancer care and complex cases, we have helped almost 50,000 patients.
Many of these patients are taking part in more than 140clinical trials and research projects currently underway. In the past year, highlights include taking part in international trials of new incredibly successful melanoma drugs, and astonishing new techniques to treat mesothelioma caused by asbestos.
These trials and research projects are carried out by the same clinicians who treat patients, shortening the path between discovery and new treatments for patients.
International research has confirmed this approach: at comprehensive cancer centres in the United States and Europe results in outcomes are 5 to 15 per cent better for patients after five years.
From the day we opened, researchers at our new cancer centre started collecting data to prove our similar approach produces the same results.
Our amazing supporters have made these achievements easier. Without the help of thousands of Australians who have donated large and small sums, shaved their heads, held garage and cake sales and movie nights, walked, cycled, run and helped out with our major fundraisers, we could not have delivered this new version of the best cancer care.
In closing, I would like to share with you an update from our first Intensive Care Unit patient, Simone Georgiou, who has become a close member of our Lifehouse family. This time last year Simone, newly married and struck with the devastating blow of bowel cancer at a young age, lay recovering from surgery and contemplating life unable to have children.
This year, she is back at work, is working with a personal trainer, and has a little Scottish Terrier puppy that she hopes to train to deliver pet therapy to patients in hospitals. And she, her husband and a surrogate are hoping for a new baby.
We wish Simone and all our patients the very best in life. As one of our surgeons, Dr Sydney Ch’ng says, we try to help our patients not just to survive, but to survive well.
Eileen Hannagan CEO,
Chris O’Brien Lifehouse