PA Research Foundation’s (PARF) strong connection with the PA Hospital’sRadiation Oncology Department is benefitting thousands of cancer patients a year.
Through involvement in the Foundation’s annual PA Giving Day and Dry July campaigns, the department has greatly improved the patient experience and conducted a number of important research projects, all with the aim of improving outcomes for every person who receives treatment.
Patient Basil De Lume is supported through his treatment by Radiation Oncology staff Amy Wilson and Matthew Foyle.
More than $31,000 in refurbishments to the patient consultation and waiting areas have been made possible by the department’s fundraising through their own network each Giving Day, and by the Foundation’s existing donors and supporters.
The refurbishments to the department, officially termed ROPAIR (Radiation Oncology) but affectionately known as RadOnc, include comfortable furniture such as couches and chairs, a phone charging station, a blanket warmer, smart TV, wall mounted brochure displays, acrylic frames and more.
To help patients relax while undergoing treatment in what can be an unfamiliar environment, special skylights were installed in the roof of the treatment room thanks to a corporate donation on Giving Day, and music devices and tablets have also been acquired for patients to choose their own music to listen to.
PARF has also connected and provided high speed two gigabyte upload and download WIFI for use free of charge by patients and their families as well as hospital staff.
The Foundation has also funded three key research projects led by Radiation Oncology based staff. The projects which all began in 2019 include:
- Head and neck lymphoedema treatment: an examination and development of current standards of care.
- Pigott A, Nixon J, Cartmill B, Porceddu S, McCann A, McPhail S, Jeans C, Trevethan M, Panizza B.
- Improving cardiovascular health outcomes in women undergoing irradiation for breast cancer; investigating new cardiac imaging modalities and reviewing cardiac structure injury from radiation therapy.
- Lehman M, Ng A, Dong X, Galloway G, Harvey J, Mai, T, Browne P, Beaton N, Sharma H.
- Developing a Predictive Selection Framework for Hydrogel Implantation in Prostate Cancer Radiation Therapy.
- Jones S, Holt T, Deegan T, Wright K, How, K, Hargrave C, Lehman M, Pryor D, While N, Mengersen K.
Director of Radiation Oncology Research at the PA Hospital, Associate Professor Mark Pinkham said the Foundation’s support has been integral to the success of numerous projects, all of which have benefitted the more than 2000 patients treated by the department annually.
“ One of the most powerful aspects of PA Foundation’s support has been to facilitate projects at ROPAIR that go beyond the usual ‘medical’ questions,” he said.
“ Many of these studies have been led by Allied Health team members, drawing on expertise across multiple clinical disciplines and really focusing on how best to support our patients with evidence-based approaches here and now. ”
A/Prof Pinkham said the research undertaken by the department have also been made possible by brave and generous patients.
“ Our department has a strong reputation in the field of Radiation Oncology related research. Support from PARF over a sustained number of years has helped to embed research and quality improvement activities at the very core of everything we do,” he said.
“ During 2021, 317 people with cancer graciously agreed to participate in one of over 20 clinical studies offered through our Ipswich Road Campus; we recorded 36 peer-reviewed publications and 50 presentations were delivered at a range of national and international forums. ”
A/Prof Pinkham said research is key to the ongoing improvement of patient outcomes and to getting patients home sooner.
Radiation Oncology Department Staff Member Andrew Puffett collaborates regularly with the PA Research Foundation to improve the patient experience.
“Radiation Therapy is a key treatment modality that approximately 1 in 2 patients will require during their cancer experience. However, research can be challenging to fund because industry and commercial support is less common,” he said.
“ Funding from PARF has been essential to make some of our important research activities even possible and for that reason I would like to take this opportunity to thank Damien Topp (Foundation, Chief Executive Officer), PARF and its donors for their continued support.
“ Despite the obvious challenges posed by COVID, PARF has directly supported four studies in our department over the last few years. These grants have enabled researchers from a range of backgrounds and skill-mixes to come together with the single objective of improving outcomes for people affected by cancer.
“ PARF has also facilitated a dedicated Gamma Knife Research Fellow position through a generous donation by Mary Xu in memory of her husband Garry Reichart. "
PA Research Foundation is your place to give to support patients undergoing radiation therapy and key cancer based research. You can donate to support the work of PA Hospital’s Radiation Oncology Department here.