26.09.2019 10:32 Age: 125 days

New TeleChemotherapy service brings treatment closer to home for country patients

Joanne King receives her cancer treatment locally at Karratha Health Campus

Karratha Health Campus is the first site in Western Australia to launch a TeleChemotherapy service, enabling some Pilbara cancer patients who are receiving low risk treatments to have their treatment closer to home with support from specialists in Perth via telehealth.

Perth-based Medical Oncologist, Dr Wei-Sen Lam said Telehealth is driving innovation in country cancer care and the TeleChemotherapy service will improve the treatment experience for country patients by reducing the need to be away from home during low risk cancer treatments.

“In some instances, residents of country WA have been required to travel to Perth for specialist treatment,” Dr Lam said.  

“TeleChemotherapy allows patients to be treated closer to home reducing travel time, stress and time away from their family and support networks,” he added.

TeleChemotherapy will be available to patients receiving low risk cancer treatments, provided the patient meets specific eligibility criteria as determined by the treating Medical Oncologist.

Karratha resident Joanne King, who is the first Western Australian patient to receive cancer treatment via the TeleChemotherapy service, has found the convenience of receiving her treatment close to home not only benefits her, but those close to her as well.  

“Making the trip from Karratha to Perth every three weeks for treatment had a real impact on every aspect of my life – work, social and family”, Ms King said.

“I always need a companion to escort me when I travel in case I am feeling sick after the treatment, so it isn’t just me that is impacted, I need to organise my family around treatments.

“Not having to travel and being able to stay in Karratha while getting treatment, starting the day at home and coming back to my own home straight after, is so much better than staying in accommodation,” she added.

Ms King said receiving a cancer diagnosis is physically and emotionally challenging and the logistics can, at times, be a bit overwhelming.

“Making appointments to see multiple specialists, getting tests, surgeries, chemo treatment and then adding the need to arrange travel, it's stressful, so being able to receive treatment in my home town helps relieve some of that stress,” she said.

 “And, it’s just nicer to be in your own home when you’re feeling crook,” she added.