New support for lung cancer patients

A new trial program for lung cancer patients aims to improve their wellbeing and reduce the impact of combined chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.

Launched by Ramsay Health Care Australia, the six-month pilot scheme will provide rehabilitation, physiotherapy and nutrition support at no out-of-pocket cost to patients undergoing the two therapies for unresectable stage-three non-small cell lung cancer.

It is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for around 85 percent of all cases. At stage three of spread, it is often considered inoperable but not untreatable.

The program links patients with a cancer care navigator to develop a support plan, including access to allied health services at Ramsay Health Plus.

It includes physiotherapy support for function, mobility and strength, an appropriate exercise regime, and access to a dietician to develop a nutritional plan for optimal eating during treatment.

Physiotherapist Dylan Rowley, National Manager of Ramsay Health Plus, said research had shown the support of allied health services improved tolerance of treatment and side-effects associated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy for lung cancer patients.

“The Ramsay Lung Cancer Rehabilitation Pilot Program will provide patients with appropriate exercise and nutrition plans to put them in the best health to undergo their cancer treatment,” Mr Rowley said.

“Eating well and feeling strong and fit can have a big impact on your mental health, reduce the side-effects of treatment and optimise your treatment outcomes.”

The program will be run at eight Ramsay facilities: St George Private Hospital, Wollongong Private Hospital, Lake Macquarie Private Hospital and The Border Cancer Hospital in New South Wales; Greenslopes Private Hospital and John Flynn Private Hospital in Queensland; Perth’s Hollywood Private Hospital; and Melbourne’s Warringal Private Hospital.

It is supported by pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca, which will pay any costs not covered by Medicare or a patient’s health fund.

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