Rural & Regional Care
At the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ben, 43, was diagnosed with advanced squamous cell skin cancer after discovering a lump on his neck. Through the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse satellite clinic in Port Macquarie, he was able to receive effective treatment from specialist head and neck surgeon, Professor Carsten Palme, Director of the Head and Neck Unit at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW’s largest and busiest head and neck cancer service.
Ben says, “Carsten was comforting. He said, yep, we'll get it, and that's what you need to hear. Some people feel the need to sugar coat it, but he was straightforward, he was confident. He said that he does about 130 of these a year, this is his top operation, and he was confident they could get it. That gave me a sense of relief, it was good to hear.”
Statistically, we know that cancer patients from rural and regional areas have lower survival rates than those who live in major cities. We are working towards addressing this disparity by working in partnership with regional healthcare and cancer services – so far, we have services in 10 regional centres across NSW and the ACT, with views to continue growing.
Our satellite clinics take the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse model of care, and the collective expertise of our team, to people with cancer in rural and regional communities. The clinics help to improve patient outcomes and quality of life, minimising delays to receiving a diagnosis or treatment which could otherwise have devastating consequences to their survival.
“Overall, we can provide better, faster, more efficient and cost-effective care given our unique not for profit private – public partnership model. We are essentially moving the expertise of Chris O’Brien Lifehouse to the patient. It’s about creating a service that complements what already exists, and making sure those health providers, clinicians and patients are educated, so patients can make the right decisions and get the best quality of care close to home” - Professor Carsten Palme
Having an accessible clinic in Port Macquarie meant that Ben could access a specialist opinion and treatment faster. An appointment could be done in a day rather than being a two-day trip; he could be near his family and most importantly be home to pick up his three kids from school after his appointments.
“When you support Chris O'Brien Lifehouse, know that you’ve just made a whole family's life better. Those kids grow up and they become better people because someone saved their parent’s or their sister's or their brother's life.” - Ben
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Ben King and his three kids
Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is a not-for-profit, comprehensive cancer hospital in Sydney. From screening to prevention, diagnosis, treatment and wellness, we treat all types of cancer, specialising in those that are complex and rare. We offer patients every service and therapy that they need including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, complementary therapies and supportive services, all under the one roof.
“At the end of the day, the most precious thing in life is time with the ones you love, and Chris O’Brien Lifehouse gives you that"
- Ben King, Rural and Regional Patient