The Hawke's Bay Cancer Society is celebrating a milestone, with the launch tomorrow of a Cancer Wellness Centre building project.
The centre will be a first for New Zealand and The Cancer Society hopes it will become a model which will be adopted by other regions.
More than 1000 people are diagnosed with cancer in Hawke's Bay each year, and many are unsupported during and after medical treatment.
The wellness centre will be about more than just treating cancer, it will provide care and treatment for the patient, in both body, mind and spirit.
Current statistics predict that cancer will increase by 50 per cent over the next 15 years. While medical treatment is provided, there is a lack of mental and emotional support for cancer patients and their families who are affected by the diagnosis.
As well as the planned wellness centre, Hawke's Bay cancer patients may also have the opportunity to receive radiation therapy closer to home.
The Palmerston North-based regional cancer treatment service is replacing its four linear accelerators that are used to deliver radiation therapy, and Hawke's Bay may receive one.
MidCentral District Health Board acting clinical executive for cancer screening, treatment and support Dr Claire Hardie said it was proposed two accelerators remain in Palmerston North, one sent to Hastings and one to New Plymouth.
Hardie said the distance between Palmerston North and Hawke's Bay was disruptive to patients' everyday schedules and an "off-putting" factor.
This, combined with the Cancer Wellness Centre, would offer more support and less emotional interference for patients and their families.
Hawke's Bay Cancer Society centre manager Trudy Kirk says the wellness centre will be a positive step towards growing and extending cancer support services at the time of diagnosis and continue to be available to those living with cancer and beyond in the community.
"Research tells us that people who know they are not alone in their journey, and that help is available at the right time in the right way, have an enhanced quality of life, before, during and after treatment.
"It will be a place to have moments of quiet reflection or to meet and chat with others over a cuppa. Your place just to be."