Bunbury is home to one of Australia’s most comprehensive cancer support centres after yesterday’s official opening of Cancer Council WA’s Dot’s Place.
The centre is named in honour of Dorothy Smith who, along with her husband Allan, paid for and renovated the building and provided it lease free.
Perth residents Dorothy and Allan both lost their first spouses to untreatable forms of cancer and last year began discussions with Cancer Council chief executive Susan Rooney about the possibility of a major donation.
“While speaking with Susan she mentioned she’d love to open a support centre in Bunbury and, having spent time in the country myself, I jumped at the idea,” Mrs Smith said.
“I cared for my mum in a regional area and found the health care facilities seriously lacking compared with those available in the city.”
The centre offers a range of support services, information and resources to residents of the South West affected by cancer and was hailed as “unique” by Cancer Council WA President Professor Christobel Saunders.
“As a breast cancer surgeon I know the importance of patients receiving good supportive care before, during and after their treatment,” Professor Saunders said.
“This facility reflects Cancer Council’s commitment to ensuring that cancer patients, including those from rural and regional WA, have access to the care and support that they need during their cancer experience.
“Dot’s Place provides an opportunity to bring all the support services offered by Cancer Council staff together, under one roof.”
Both those diagnosed with cancer and their families will benefit from the centre.
Services include support groups, financial and practical assistance and free transport to and from treatments.
Dot’s Place can also provide free wigs for the duration of cancer treatment, a service previously lacking in the South West.
Demand for services at Dot’s Place is expected to grow due to an increase in local cancer treatment services and rising cancer rates.
Latest data from the West Australian Cancer Registry reveals 836 individuals were diagnosed with cancer in the South West in 2010, a figure expected to double in the next 10 years.
Dot’s Place is open Monday to Friday 9am to 4.30pm and can be reached on 9721 9555.