Chris O’Brien Lifehouse –

Transforming Cancer Treatment and Care for Australians

It was while battling an aggressive brain tumour that the late Professor Chris O’Brien AO, himself a brain surgeon, began fighting for the rights of cancer patients to ensure they were valued and treated with dignity.

As a cancer patient he soon realised the indignity, frustration and exhaustion many people felt when trying to navigate everything from blood tests to specialists. Chris decided it was time to make a real difference by creating a cancer treatment centre that focused on patients. And so Lifehouse was born.

Today Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is an independent not-for-profit hospital treating over 40,000 cancer patients annually. Our focus is on our patients and, as we strive to deliver the highest possible standards delivered by skilled professional medical teams and friendly staff, Lifehouse follows its vision to transform cancer treatment and care for all Australians.

As we live longer cancer is becoming more prevalent, particularly in senior Australians. Fortunately, medical research has made tremendous breakthroughs and, as Lifehouse is in a unique position to conduct clinical trials in-house, Lifehouse patients have shared in some of those achievements saving and improving many lives.

“Medicine is constantly evolving,” says Professor Michael Boyer AM, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse’s Chief Clinical Officer. “To ensure we remain at the forefront of the latest approaches to cancer care and treatment, Lifehouse has dedicated research teams focusing on innovations in physics, medical physics, radiobiology, radiation oncology, radiotherapy, gynaecological oncology, medical oncology, as well as an integrated clinical trials department.”
“This provides a unique opportunity for our patients and team members to get involved in vital research, including the trial of new drugs, devices and pioneering treatment techniques.”

Professor Boyer says that such opportunities have already led to advances in lung cancer research, “Now rather than using chemotherapy we can treat some patients with just one tablet a day. These kinds of advances mean we are fulfilling our mission of making treatment easier and helping people with cancer to live longer.”

Additionally Lifehouse aims to have the most innovative and technologically advanced medical and surgical equipment available. The majority of major pieces of equipment in Lifehouse operating theatres have been acquired thanks to the generosity of our supporters.
In fact, thanks to our donors, our surgeons have recently performed the 100th robotic surgery on the da Vinci Xi Surgical System – the most advanced robotic surgical system currently available. At a cost of $5million Lifehouse could not afford to purchase this vital piece of life-changing and life-saving surgical equipment. When the need was known our community of supporters made tax-deductible donations from $5 up to $1million, raising the much-needed funds in just six-months!

The da Vinci Xi Surgical System offers many patients the chance of minimally invasive surgery, a shorter stay in hospital and a much improved recovery time. For instance, with traditional surgery, a patient with throat cancer may have to endure having their jaw broken, or even having a piece removed to then be rebuilt with a reconstruction from other bones. This can cause disfigurement as well as difficulty eating, speaking and swallowing. However, through robotic surgery, a surgeon can operate via the mouth, an approach which not only results in no visible scarring or disfigurement but also aids the precise removal of cancerous tissue. In fact, our first robotic surgery patient back in December 2015 had cancerous tumour that from diagnosis to operation had grown to the size of tennis ball. The patient, a grandfather of two, was able to have the lump completely removed and was back home in ten days (with a ‘slightly sore throat’) and was able to spend Christmas with his family.

Thanks to the vision and thoughtfulness of our supporters – those who make donations during their lifetimes and those who leave a gift in their Wills – we were able to offer this level of innovation to our patients requiring surgery.

As Professor Michael Boyer says, “Our work at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is about making a difference to our patients. As Lifehouse is a not-for-profit cancer hospital we depend on the generosity of visionary people who want to give to help make a real difference to people’s lives.
By leaving a gift in your Will you will help us to do even more in terms of research and our ongoing treatment and care for our cancer patients aged from 12 years and over.”

You can make a genuine difference to people’s lives by helping us transform cancer treatment and care for cancer patients by leaving a gift in your Will to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. No matter its size, a gift in your Will, or bequest, is a vital contribution that will help Lifehouse’s mission to transform treatment and care for cancer patients and support the lasting legacy and vision of Professor Chris O’Brien to improve cancer care for all Australians.
To receive a free booklet about making a bequest to Lifehouse or for more information call Alison Muir, Bequest Manager, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse directly on (02) 8514 0356 or visit: www.mylifehouse.org.au/bequests