State Government Building Services to Beat Cancer Mon 4 February 2013 Michelle O'Byrne Minister for Health The Minister for Health, Michelle O'Byrne, today marked World Cancer Day by highlighting the significant improvements in cancer care treatment across Tasmania. "The State Government is investing heavily in cancer services in Tasmania to take on one of the world's biggest killers," Ms O'Byrne said. "We're working hard to ensure people in every part of our State have access to the best and latest cancer treatment to help, heal and support them when they need it. "At the same time, we're taking steps to de-normalise smoking - one of the biggest causes of cancer - so people can either quit or refuse to take it up in the first place." Ms O'Byrne said the State Government was funding specialist cancer centres at the Royal Hobart Hospital (RHH) and the Launceston General Hospital (LGH) with a Regional Cancer Centre at the North West Regional Hospital in Burnie. "Later this month the first patients will be treated on the new linear accelerator, delivering state of the art radiation therapy to Southern Tasmanians," she said. "At the RHH, by mid-year we will open the last phase of the new Cancer Centre with a second new linear accelerator, patient support centre and improved clinical and consulting facilities as part of the $586 million State and Federally funded Redevelopment "At the Launceston General Hospital, the State and Australian Governments are spending $2 million to upgrade medical oncology facilities at the Holman Clinic. "The service has operated from within the LGH during much of 2012 to ensure no interruption to patients' treatment. "The work is planned to finish early this year. The medical oncology upgrade has added extra treatment chairs (17 now up from 12), a single and a double ward, three additional consultation rooms (now six) and additional social work facilities. "Patients in the north are also receiving first rate services through the $4.3 million Northern Cancer Support Centre, which is jointly funded by the State and Commonwealth governments and Cancer Council Tasmania. "The cancer support centre provides support groups, advice and psychological support and dovetails with the Holman Clinic expansion. "And we are continuing to work with the Australian Government on the construction of a purpose-built North West Regional Cancer Centre at Burnie housing chemotherapy, palliative care and teaching facilities. "This facility will also house a linear accelerator to provide radiation treatment to North West cancer patients. "THO-North West also works with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne - a Peter Mac oncologist and a registrar currently work at the NWRH well as increasing support from the Holman Clinic at the LGH. "This means THO-North West is working with the best cancer experts in Australia." Ms O'Byrne said the State Government was also moving quickly and vigorously to bring smoking to an end in Tasmania - one of the leading causes of cancer. "We have introduced legislation to remove smoking from many public events and places including restaurants, playgrounds, sports grounds, bus malls, markets, festivals and beaches. "We are funding a range of initiatives to help Tasmanians quit smoking through Quit Campaigns, the Quitline and smoking cessation programs. "And we are exploring ways to prevent young people taking up smoking by improving youth access to cessation support and reducing the supply of tobacco products to young people. "We have launched a new online directory bringing together available help and support to make accessing help as easy as possible for Tasmanians with cancer, their families and the health professionals who care for them." The directory was developed by the Cancer Council Tasmania in partnership with the CanNET II Tasmania Project Team and was jointly funded by the DHHS and Cancer Australia. It can be accessed at http://directory.cancersupportcentre.org.au Ms O'Byrne said the most recent Progress Chart also revealed excellent results for cancer screening with the number of women screened increasing and the percentage called back for further assessment within 28 days remaining steady.