Skip links and keyboard navigation

Townsville Cancer Centre

Townsville Cancer Centre 2015

Townsville Cancer Centre (TCC) is a tertiary regional cancer centre in North Queensland; providing comprehensive and multidisciplinary cancer services including Haematology and Bone Marrow transplantation, Medical Oncology, Palliative Care, Radiation Oncology,  Radiation Therapy and nursing and Allied Health services.  Research, clinical trials and training are integrated into core business in partnership with James Cook University, Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine and other universities.

logo - jcu and AITHM
One of our goals is to contribute to closing the gap in clinical outcomes that exist between rural and Indigenous patients and their urban counterparts.  We have been providing specialist cancer services closer to home for rural, remote and Indigenous communities using telehealth technologies, under the umbrella of the Townsville Hospital and Health Service.

The Townsville Cancer Centre Coordinates 7 Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) meetings. Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) meetings are a group of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals who meet regularly to plan treatment for people with newly diagnosed cancer and to review the treatment plans of existing patients during or after treatment. Clinicians across the Townsville hospital and surrounding hospitals use these meetings for delivery of cancer diagnosis, investigations and treatment. The discussion outcome results in the development of a treatment care plan recommendation for the patient.

These include:

  • Gastrointestinal
  • Genitourinary Tumours
  • Breast
  • Lung
  • High Risk Skin
  • Head and Neck
  • Lymphoma

Medical Oncology

The Department of Medical Oncology provides a tertiary level service encompassing the following areas:

  • Drug treatments (cytotoxic chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, hormone therapy and other medical therapies) for patients with solid tumours.
  • Consultancy services to other departments of The Townsville Hospital and Health Service and primary care providers.
  • The nursing professionals provide dedicated care to cancer patients throughout their treatment, deliver chemotherapy and related supportive therapy, in a safe, and caring environment. Nurse Educators provide comprehensive education on treatment, and endeavour to include patients’ carers and relatives, in recognition of the importance of family support.
  • Cancer care coordinators provide important support services e.g. G.P liaison to help maintain continuity of care for patients as part of integrated cancer clinical pathway
  • The Oncology Department in collaboration with the Mental Health Services of The Townsville hospital provides psychosocial services to cancer patients and their carers/relatives. These include assessment, education and psychological treatments via individual sessions or workshops, for patients at all stages of cancer, and women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer.

The Department of Medical Oncology provides the following facilities:

  • Outpatient Treatment Unit.
  • Inpatient Oncology Ward.
  • Public/Bulk Billing and Private Outpatient Consultation Suites.
  • Clinical Investigations
  • Participation in multi-disciplinary cancer clinic

Staffed by five medical oncologists, our department integrates clinical trials, research and undergraduate (College of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University) and post graduate medical education and training as part of service delivery.  Our advanced training program, as part of the state-wide Medical Oncology training network is accredited for core training by the Royal Australian College of Physicians.  We provide specialist cancer services closer to home for rural, remote and Indigenous communities in our region using telehealth technologies, under the umbrella of the Townsville Teleoncology Network.

Staff Specialists

Prof Sabe Sabesan BMBS, FRACP, PhD Professor
Dr Abhishek Joshi MBBS, DM, FRACP Senior Lecturer
Dr Zulfiquer Otty MBBS, MRCP, FRACP Senior Lecturer
Dr Suresh Varma MBBS, DM, FRACP Senior Lecturer
Dr Corinne Ryan MBBS, BAppliSci, FRACP Senior Lecturer

Referral and contact details

 Phone  +61 7 4433 1671
 Facsimile  +61 7 4433 4101
 Postal Address Medical Oncology
IMB 56
The Townsville Hospital
PO Box 670

Appointments can be made by using the above mailing address, fax number or by phoning +61 7 4433 1697.


The Townsville Cancer Centre
East Wing of the Townsville Hospital
100 Angus Smith Drive

Urgent clinical queries

Telephone Medical Oncology Registrar at +61 7 4433 3120 or +61 7 4433 1671(8am – 5 pm only) after 5pm ring switch +61 7 4433 1111 and request on call oncologist.

Day Unit treatment

appointments telephone - Administration Officer, Day Unit by phone: +61 7 4433 1636 or
Facsimile: +61 7 4433 1601

Go to Toptop of page

Radiation Oncology

The department of Radiation Oncology specialises in the provision of modern, state of the art radiation therapy for the treatment of adult cancers. Our multidisciplinary team include six Senior Radiation Oncologists and a staff of experienced Radiation Therapists,  Radiation Oncology Medical Physicists, Nurses and Administrative Support officers. We integrate undergraduate, (JCU students), and post graduate teaching. We have five accredited registrar training positions, and are part of the state-wide radiation oncology training network. We are actively involved in clinical trials and research.

Our equipment comprises five linear accelerators, a superficial radiation therapy unit and a high dose rate brachytherapy afterloader.  Our dedicated CT simulator is equipped with 4-dimensional technology to accurately account for respiratory motion of tumours, and we have a conventional simulator with fluoroscopy and cone beam CT capability.  PET scan and MRI performed in radiology can be co-registered with the planning CT to aid with accurate tumour definition.

We can treat patients with conventional, intensity-modulated, volumetric-modulated and stereotactic radiotherapy, as well as brachytherapy.

All patients are discussed in multidisciplinary team meetings, and our radiation Oncologists have subsite interests as listed below

Dr Susan Hewitt (Director) Breast, Lymphoma, Gynaecological Cancers
Dr Sean Brennan Breast, Lymphoma,  Skin, Neurology, Stereotactic Cranial Radiation Therapy
Dr Michael Collins Head and Neck, Lung, Skin, Neurology, Sarcoma
Dr Peter Fon Urology, Gastrointestinal, Thyroid, Gynaecological, Skin Cancers
Dr Madhavi Chilkuri Head and Neck, Upper Gastrointestinal, Sarcoma, Stereotactic Liver Radiation Therapy
Dr Alex Tan Urology, Lung, Gastrointestinal, Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (lung and spine)

Referral and contact details

 Phone +61 7 4433 1663
 Facsimile +61 7 4433 1621
 Postal Address

Radiation Oncology
Townsville Cancer Centre
The Townsville Hospital
IMB 56
PO Box 670


Townsville Cancer Centre Radiation Oncology
The Townsville Cancer Centre
East Wing of the Townsville Hospital
100 Angus Smith Drive

Urgent clinical queries During office hours, by phoning +61 7 4433 1663 or the switch board +61 7 4433 1111 and asking for the Radiation Oncologist on call (24 hours per day)

Go to Toptop of page

Radiation Therapy

Radiation Therapy (RT) is provided at the newly expanded Townsville Cancer Centre located within The Townsville Hospital.  Radiation Therapy is the use of high energy X-rays to treat cancer. It works by damaging the DNA of cells, preventing cancer cells from being able to repair themselves and invade healthy tissue.

Radiation Therapists are involved in the simulation, dosimetry planning, treatment and overall care of patients receiving Radiation Therapy treatment.  Simulation is the process of obtaining the required data to complete the treatment planning process.  This involves determining the optimal position to treat the patient in, often with the use of immobilization devices to keep the patient still. A CT scan is then performed of the treatment area.

Dosimetry is where a patients treatment plan is created.  Working in conjunction with Radiation Oncologists, Radiation Therapists design and tailor the radiation beam to deliver the maximum dose to the tumour volume without damaging the surrounding tissue.

Treatment is conducted with the use of Linear Accelerators. Radiation Therapists use these state-of-the-art machines to deliver daily treatments with sub-millimeter accuracy. All Linear Accelerators are named after Islands. Currently we have: Daydream, Orpheus, Pelorus, Hayman and Mornington operational. The next Linac to be installed will be Lindeman.

Along with the simulation, planning and treatment of cancer patients, Radiation Therapists regularly conduct research, leading or participating in studies at a local, national or international level.  They are also involved with the testing and implementation of new technologies, working in conjunction with international companies.  Radiation Therapy provides the opportunity to become a specialist in a desired area while still maintaining competency in all others.

Elekta machine Townsville Cancer Centre
Radiation therapy equipment

Precise treatment system
Radiation therapy equipment

The best contact number for Radiation Therapy is +61 7 4433 1663.

Aniko Cooper Director Radiation Therapy
Scott Cooper Planning Resource Senior
Elderene Brostrom Treatment Resource Senior
Michaela Thomas RT Educator

Go to Toptop of page

Clinical Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplant

Overview The Department of Clinical Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation (BMT) provide a tertiary level service, which has National Association of Testing Authority (NATA) accreditation, encompassing the following areas:

  • Malignant haematology (all leukaemia, lymphoma & myeloma)
  • Autologous Peripheral Blood Stem Cell & Bone Marrow transplantation
  • Related Donor Allogeneic Peripheral Blood Stem Cell & Bone Marrow transplantation
  • Apheresis Program
  • Clinical trials – both national & international
  • Benign haematological disorders
  • Blood transfusion
  • Haemophilia care

The Department of Clinical Haematology and BMT has the following facilities:

  • Oncology Day Therapy Unit & Consulting Suites
  • Haematology and BMT in-patient ward
  • Clinical Trials Unit
  • Stem Cell Laboratory
  • Leukaemia Foundation accommodation units (within the hospital grounds)

Our team

Medical Staff

  • Director of Clinical Haematology and BMT
  • Consultant Clinical Haematologist/Transplant Physicians x 4
  • Advanced Trainee Registrar (Haematology) – Clinical Rotation
  • Advanced Trainee Registrar (Haematology) – Laboratory Rotation
  • Rotating Basic Trainee Registrar
  • Haematology and BMT Resident
  • Haematology and BMT Intern

Nursing Staff

  • Nurse Unit Manager – Haematology Oncology Inpatients
  • Nurse Unit Manager – Ambulatory Oncology
  • Clinical Nurse Consultant - Haematology Oncology Inpatients
  • Clinical Nurse Consultant – Bone Marrow Transplant
  • Clinical Nurse Consultant – Ambulatory Oncology
  • Clinical Nurse Educator
  • Nurse Manger – Clinical Trials Unit
  • Cancer Care Coordinators
  • Registered Nursing staff – including Clinical Nurses & Registered Nurses
  • Enrolled Nursing Staff & Students In Nursing

Allied Services

  • Data Management
  • Quality Manager, BMT
  • Clinical Laboratory Scientists (Stem Cell Specialist)
  • Psychologist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Social Worker
  • Dietician
  • Occupational and Physical Therapists
  • Indigenous Liaison Officer
  • Office Staff, Departmental Secretary
  • Liaison with Leukaemia Foundation

Referral process


Department of Clinical Haematology and BMT
The Townsville Cancer Centre
100 Angus Smith Drive  

 Phone - all inquiries  +61 7 4433 1628 or Switchboard  on +61 7 4433 1111 and ask for the “Consultant Haematologist on call" (24 hours per day)
 Facsimile +61 7 4433 4101
 Postal Address Department of Clinical Haematology and BMT
Townsville Cancer Centre
The Townsville Hospital
IMB 56
PO Box 670
Urgent clinical queries phone

Haematology and BMT +61 7 4433 1628 (office hours)
Switchboard (The Townsville Hospital) on +61 7 4433 1111 and ask for the “Consultant Haematologist on call" (24 hours per day)

Referrals to the Department of Clinical Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation can be made by letter or facsimile.  Referrals should be addressed to doctors Lai/Birchley/Morris/Hodges/Casey (Consultant Haematologists)

Go to Toptop of page

Palliative Care

The Palliative Care Centre encompasses a Palliative Care Inpatient ward, and an Outreach Community Palliative Care Service.  Both are located in the Palliative Care Centre building of the Townsville Hospital, south of the main acute building.

The Townsville Palliative Care Service has been developed to provide specialist palliative care and support for patients and families dealing with a life-ending illness. The service consists of an inpatient unit, an outreach team, a consultative service for inpatients in other areas of The Townsville Hospital and support for patients across the Townsville HHS. The Service is delivered by an interdisciplinary team so as to meet the diverse physical, social, psychological and spiritual needs of palliative care patients and their families in the Townsville HHS area.  Some patients are still receiving disease modifying treatment, but the goal of the treatment is palliative rather than curative in its intent.

The Palliative Care Centre has a contract in place with Bluecare to provide domiciliary palliative care services to patients living in the community.  Medical equipment is provided for dying patients in the community through a contract with Condor Healthcare.  The Palliative Care Service provides extensive support to health workers across tropical Queensland in support of their efforts to provide palliative care to their patients. It has primary responsibility for specialist services in the Townsville HHS but provides advice and educational support for communities in other Hospital and Health Services as necessary on request.

The model of care utilized by the service is:

  • Direct care: within the designated inpatient unit;
  • Shared care: with other medical teams; and
  • Consultation/liaison with other health care providers.

Through these models of care the Palliative Care Service provides:

  • Palliative care for patients with life ending illnesses;
  • Advice on or for palliative care management; and
  • Services to support the delivery of palliative care in the community.

The Palliative Care Centre is a Level 6 within the Clinical Services Capability Framework and the service is a Specialist Palliative Care Service Resource Level 3.

Dr Richard Corkill

MBBS, MRCP, FRCR, BSc, Cert Ed, Dip Pall Med, FAChPM

Dr Ofra Fried MBBS BA MPH FAChPM Staff Specialist
Dr Kay Porche


Staff Specialist

Townsville Palliative Care Service Volunteers

The Palliative Care Service has a group of specially trained volunteers who provide support to patients of the service in the Palliative Care Centre and in family homes in the community.  All volunteers are required to go through an application and training process, and their activities are managed by the Coordinator of Volunteers, based in the Palliative Care Centre.  Volunteers can provide various types of support (within established guidelines) to families in the community, including respite for carers, companionship, assistance with community access, and practical support. Volunteers are a daily presence in the palliative care centre, where they provide support to patients and visitors, along with specialised services including massage, manicures and art activities.

If you believe you may be eligible for volunteer support, or would like information about joining our group of volunteers, please contact the Coordinator of Volunteers on 4433 4264 or 0428 649 066, or via e-mail on

Go to Toptop of page

Medical Radiation Physics

Medical Physics is a branch of applied physics which employs physical concepts for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease. It is not a new discipline; it is only in recent times emerging as a highly recognizable and valued area in medicine.  Since the discovery of X-rays by Roentgen in 1895 and Bacquerel’s discovery of radioactivity in 1898, medical physics has been a catalyst in the development of modern medicine.

Radiation Oncology Medical Physicists (ROMPs) work with physicians, Radiation therapists, nurses and engineers in the delivery of radiotherapy for the treatment of cancer. ROMPs are involved in clinical consultancy, treatment delivery and verification, quality assurance and latest technology evaluation.

Whilst applicable and the responsibility of each specialty, Radiation Safety can be a separate role within itself. All other professionals rely on the medical physicist for radiation safety matters, advice and policy.

The first step in the pathway is getting a good foundation Undergraduate degree majoring in Physical Sciences and featuring a strong math basis. After undergraduate study, becoming a Registrar in the Training Education and Assessment program (TEAP) is the next step. The TEAP includes completing a University postgraduate degree in medical Physics along with clinical placement.

For more information contact - Director Radiation Physics

Louis Fourie +61 7 4433 1043
Timothy Crabtree +61 7 4433 1042

Go to Toptop of page

Youth Cancer Service

A cancer diagnosis during the adolescent and young adult years can be highly challenging for young people and their families. Being a young adult is not easy at the best of times – finances, work, study, sexuality, independence, peers…… you name it, it’s all happening!

The Queensland Youth Cancer Services works in partnership with the cancer specialists in your hospital to ensure all aspects your health and well-being are considered during treatment and beyond.

Queensland Youth Cancer Services provide young patients 15 -25 years of age with:

  • specialist care by an expert team of medical, nursing and allied health professionals with experience in treating cancer in young people
  • treatment that is planned and managed by a multidisciplinary team
  • a designated Cancer Care Coordinator– a nursing or allied health consultant who will be their personal guide through the complexities of treatment at this age
  • psychosocial care to meet the unique needs of young people, including help coping with cancer and side effects, and help returning to your family, community, school and/or work after treatment ends
  • access to fertility preservation information and options
  • improved access to new clinical trials and research
  • respect – treatment and support that recognises and values individual diversity
  • referrals to community agencies for ongoing support outside of hospital

For further information and referral forms, go to:

Allied Health

Various allied health disciplines provide their services to our patients in collaboration with multidisciplinary team members caring for patient with all types of cancers.
Research and education are integrated as part of core business of many disciplines. Several allied health professionals contribute to the state-wide allied health cancer care clinicians’ reference group in order to provide care across the state in a standardized manner.
Telehealth models are utilized to provide care closer to homes for our rural and Indigenous patients and to offer advice and support for rural health professionals. Townsville Cancer Centre provides comprehensive allied health services. Allied health staff work in collaboration with multidisciplinary team members caring for patients with all types of cancers, and include:

  • Dietitians
  • Occupational therapists
  • Pharmacists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Psychologist
  • Social workers
  • Speech pathologists

A variety of services and specialist clinics are provided for cancer care patients prior to and during treatment, as well as throughout survivorship. For further information on specific services, please refer to discipline specific information on The Townsville Hospital website.

Allied health outpatient services are available during weekday business hours. Referrals are accepted from medical, nursing and other allied health staff, as well as from general practitioners. Referrals can be made in person, via direct phone contact, or through completion of a referral form
Research and education are integrated as part of core business of many disciplines. Allied health professionals contribute to state-wide cancer care groups to facilitate standardized care across the state.

Go to Toptop of page

Townsville Teleoncology Network

Townsville Teleoncology Network was established in order to provide specialist cancer services closer to home for rural, remote and Indigenous patients who face disparity in access to cancer services close to home and in clinical outcomes compared to their urban counterparts.

Various telehealth based clinical, education and supervision models have been developed and implemented in the fields of haematology and bone marrow transplantation, medical and radiation oncology, palliative care, nursing and allied health. Projects to conduct research and evaluation of these teleoncology models are undertaken and published under the umbrella of the Tropical Centre for Telehealth Practice and Research, in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine.

Contact: Teleoncology Co-ordinator +61 7 4433 3641  Fax: +61 7 4433 1621

Go to Toptop of page

Clinical trials

Our mission is to continue to explore and implement innovative models of care for rural patients participating in studies, incorporating the emergence of Telehealth in the setting of clinical trials.  Clinical trials are offered to our patients as part of progressive treatment programs within the Townsville Cancer Centre.   We participate in a considerable number of international, multi-centre group and industry sponsored phase II and III clinical trials.  In the last five years we have taken part in close to 100 clinical trials with groups and industry sponsors including but not limited to ALLG, TROG, ANZGOG, ANZBCTG, AGITG and ANZUP.

Our team consists of:

  • Medical Oncologists, Haematologists, Radiation Oncologists and Palliative Care physicians
  • Clinical Trials Nurse Unit Manager
  • Clinical Research Coordinators (Clinical Nurses and Radiation Therapists)

Referrals to a clinical trial can be made directly to the specialist or via a number of multidisciplinary tumour stream meetings. For the latest information regarding clinical trials currently open and recruiting please contact any of the telephone numbers below:

Contact numbers for Clinical Trial Study Coordinators are

Clinical trial NUM +61 7 4433 3549  
Medical  Oncology +61 7 4433 3548 +61 7 4433 3221
Haematology +61 7 4433 3220 +61 7 4433 4135
Radiation +61 7 4433 4281  

Go to Toptop of page

Education and training

Townsville Cancer Centre (TCC) is affiliated with James Cook University and other universities for the provision of undergraduate training for medical, nursing, allied health and physics students. Various selective and elective placements are offered as part of undergraduate program.

Medical and radiation oncology, haematology and palliative care specialties participate in local and state-wide training programs for basic and advanced training.

Go to Toptop of page


We participate in multinational and multi-centre clinical trials in

  • medical and radiation oncology
  • haematology
  • bone marrow transplantation and palliative care

to offer cutting edge cancer therapy and care plans for our patients.

Other Townsville Cancer Centre projects focus on clinical research and quality improvement activities to generate new knowledge about patient care, monitor the quality of care provided, and to share findings via publications and presentations.

Link to Townsville HHS Ethics and Research Governance

Link to Townsville HHS Library 

Link to  Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine.

Link to Tropical Centre for Telehealth Practice and Research

Go to Toptop of page

Townsville Cancer Centre Nursing education

At TCC we have a variety of educational programs coordinated by the Oncology Nurse Educator and supported by a variety of team members from nursing, medical and allied health.

This is an overview of education provided

  • ADAC (Antineoplastic Drug Administration Course) Australia – wide recognized education program
  • Oncology GELS (Generic Essential Life Support) co-coordinated with the Townsville Skills Centre for simulated emergency training
  • QCEP (Queensland Cancer Education Program) State-wide academic and clinical cancer nursing program run internally over a twelve month period rotating throughout all oncology areas (Radiation Oncology, Oncology Day Unit, Oncology Ward, Palliative Care)

Clinical Nurse education days

  • Structured mandatory competency training coordinated by the Clinical Nurse Consultants in each area
  • Access to online Introduction to Radiation Oncology modules via eviQ (Cancer Treatments Online)
  • Involvement in the First Year of Practice Nursing program


  • Oncology Skills day for Nurses (for all of Townsville HHS nurses)
  • Introduction to Oncology Seminar for all streams (for all of Townsville HHS)
  • Introduction to Palliative Care for Nurses Seminar (for all of Townsville HHS and community nursing settings, e.g. aged care homes and community services (Blue Care)

Go to Toptop of page

Last updated: 11 April 2019

Townsville Cancer Centre +61 7 4433 1111