Budget support for cancer patients

Budget support for cancer patients

A campaign to boost life saving radiation therapy in regional areas like East Gippsland has won a $45.5 million boost in last week’s Federal Budget.

The funding was announced on Tuesday night by Federal Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, and detailed in the budget papers.

The Radiation Therapy Advisory Group (RTAG) has been campaigning for better radiation therapy access for regional patients for months. RTAG anticipated that Federal Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, would also announce a similar funding boost to regional radiation therapy in his budget reply speech last Thursday.

RTAG says it is pleased that its public advocacy campaign to improve access to vital radiation therapy in 12 high priority regional areas of Australia, including East Gippsland, has received a strong hearing on both sides of politics.

“Cancer patients should not have to travel two hours or more per day for radiation therapy,” Prof Peter O’Brien, of RTAG, said.

“Radiation therapy should not mean weeks away from family for regional Australians.”

Details of exactly how and where the government’ s multi-million dollar package is to be allocated have yet to be determined. RTAG says radiation therapy treatment is precise, effective and non-invasive compared with other forms of treatment.

A lack of radiation therapy means higher mortality rates, avoidable surgeries, long-distance travel and weeks away from home.

RTAG looks forward to working with the Federal Government to plan for the most effective distribution of this money to regional propulsions centres that can service their surrounding areas and hopes to be able to improve outcomes for cancer patients in each of the 12 locations it is campaigning for.

Following this announcement, RTAG plans to continue to work with the Federal Government to provide top-level advice on radiation therapy and to promote radiation therapy in regional Australia.