Cancer care in regional areas is in demand as patients and their carers seek to stay close to home while they receive treatment.
More than 2 million Australians live in regional or remote areas and statistics tell us half of those people will be affected by cancer by the time they’re 85. For people who live in areas distant from cancer care centres, getting through treatment can be challenging.
SolarisCare Great Southern’s Volunteer and Office Coordinator Valmai Nathan says there are many new and frightening aspects of being diagnosed with cancer for both the patient and the family, and the more familiar the surroundings the better.
“With the latest changes in treatment, patients are now enquiring/requesting to stay in Albany to be close to loved ones rather than travel to Perth for ongoing treatment,” Ms Nathan said.
“I personally have met people who have never driven further than the distance between Denmark to Albany – the idea of driving into Perth is incredibly daunting for people like this.”
Ms Nathan also highlighted the fact that many people in regional areas are not able to “pause” their lifestyle for cancer treatment, or if they do they face financial stress.
“People may need to finish their seeding, shearing or harvesting…if they don’t do this important work at the correct time they may come up with significant financial losses.”
SolarisCare has regional centres in Bunbury and Albany. Ms Nathan says this accessibility in regional areas helped patients and carers better understand what support they could receive and even knew treatments they may not have known was available.
“Regional patients may not have been aware of the different modalities available. Complementary treatments are exactly that; a perfect complement to traditional medicine which both help towards holistic care and the feeling of security and wellbeing of patients and families,” she said.
“SolarisCare can be a great haven for so many people during a turbulent storm – no one knows what lies behind the gate of cancer and everyone dreads being handed the key.”