WORK has begun on Mildura’s new cancer treatment centre.

A radiation therapy bunker is set to open at Mildura Health Private Hospital next year after construction started at the site.

Currently, local cancer patients needing radiation therapy have to travel, often to Adelaide, Melbourne or Bendigo, for care.

Mildura Health Private Hospital chief executive Marcus Guthrie said the first patient will receive treatment some time next year.

“The bunker shell and the linear accelerator will be installed in February,” Mr Guthrie said.

“Once it is installed, we’ll know better when we’ll be able to treat patients.”

Mildura Health chief executive Gerard Op de Coul said the bunker was “highly complex”, with a local and outside builder teaming up to make the project happen.

He said the lack of the service locally had meant a lot of people weren’t receiving the treatment.

“They compromise their treatment and then hence they get poorer outcomes,” Mr Op de Coul said.

“This will improve outcomes and it allows people to stay home.

“The treatment once you get set up is only for five minutes a day, so a lot of people who have cancer treatment, they can have their treatment (in the early stages) and then they can go to work.”

The Federal Government funded the radiotherapy equipment and will provide Medicare rebates for those services.

Regional Health Minister David Gillespie toured the site and said it was important such services were available in the country.

Member for Mallee Anne Webster said once complete it would provide an incredible benefit to the community.

“This will be the first time that (treatment) is possible here in Mildura,” Dr Webster said.

“It will actually service people from Broken Hill, all the way down through the Mallee.”

ABOVE: Member for Mallee Anne Webster, Mildura Health chief executive Gerard Op de Coul, Minister for Regional Health David Gillespie and Mildura Health Private Hospital chief executive Marcus Guthrie inspect the site where the new radiation therapy centre will be.