Cancer Patients without Borders…
Welcome to the new Culture of Survivorship: Why we do what we do!
First hand experience seeking overseas treatment: Our Grace Gawler Institute founder knows what it like to be a patient with a life-challenging condition who has fallen through gaps in the medical system. In December 1997 she awoke after routine surgery to discover that her rectum was paralysed.
This unexpected event was to change her life drastically. Consecutive surgeries followed, ileostomies, colostomies and removal of damaged and impacted colon were band-aid treatments that bought time; but her long term prognosis was grim.
In 2002-03, with just one Australian physician supporting her decision to seek an experimental treatment developed in the Netherlands, (15 others were not in favour); she left Australian to seek her optimum recovery. Her experimental surgery involved a long stay in Rotterdam.
The procedure involved surgically implanting a bionic device and electrodes in her lower back and buttock; designed to mimic the nerve supply that no longer functioned.
Not tried before for her condition, it was successful and a world first! Every day her device still pulses at 6 volts and is responsible for Grace getting her life back; ending those years of colon surgeries and failing ileostomy procedures.
Replacement surgeries are ongoing. The battery operated device needs to be replaced approximately every 3-4 years. So far Grace has undergone 23 surgical procedure since 1997.
The procedure is now performed in Singapore, but still not available in Australia.
Helping Patients Navigate the National & International Cancer Maze:
With Grace’s history, it is not surprising that one of the Institute’s key initiatives involves helping patients find valid medical solutions overseas when solution are not available in their home country.
The need: When it comes to cancer treatments, not all countries are equal in what they can offer. Some proven treatments and procedures may be registered for use in some countries – but not others.
We believe that life is precious and that well-being & good life quality is the right of all cancer patients as it is their right to explore all possible options to extend their life with good quality.
We are committed to assist cancer patients to navigate the complex international cancer treatment maze with support and guidance.
New Technologies: Over the Decades we have developed close collaborations with experts in many medical fields.
As well we have embraced the highest levels of medical science and technology including advanced genomic testing and monitoring tools.
Our medical oncology colleagues can also assist with providing access to targeted treatments as recommended by precision medicine diagnostics. In terms of state of the art treatments; we enlist our international experts to provide you with treatment opinions, not available in your home country.
We can assist with referrals to Immune therapy centres, Proton beam and Cyber-knife centres located in Asia; treatment options not available in Australia.
- We are more than a referral service – more comprehensive and personalised; we provide guidance & management at every step of the process.
- Our unique service is based on our founder’s 42 years experience helping cancer patients. Click to view our Navigation Package
- No Bias: importantly – we receive no financial remuneration from the hospitals and experts we refer you to for an opinion.
- The only remuneration we receive is from you, the patient on a fee for service basis. Because we are thorough, often more time is spent than is charged for. Extra costs for time can be substantial – however our charity status allows us to subsidiseextra services by way of by donations.
- Along with your medical team, we help match you to centres of excellence with expertise in your particular cancer- within Australia and globally.
- Close collaborations with some of the world’s leading oncologists – Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Germany, the UK, EU and the USA also means we can fast -track opinions.
- We understand that international travel for cancer treatment can be daunting. We can assist with logistics, travel information whilst guiding you through your treatments.
- We maintain a close connection with you while overseas and can provide liaisons with your local doctors and oncology team – essential for long-term monitoring and maintenance.
- Due to our founder’s vast experience in cancer management – we also offer psychological & emotional support.
A special page has been created for patients from the UK and Northern Hemisphere – see link below.
Referrals to advanced medicine in Asia for Australian & NZ patients:
German History: Grace Gawler has referred patients to German Clinics/Hospitals for 30 + years.
As well, for three years, 2012-14, we had close liaisons with a private oncology clinic in Germany and conducted medi-tours there.
We spent three months+ each year living in the clinic and supervising patients. It was an intense, rewarding and enlightening first-hand experience.
However in mid 2014 – having gathered insights as well as learning from patients’ experiences – we ceased our medi-tours to focus on emerging cancer treatments closer to Australia.
Long distance air travel to Germany, even with support; proved far too rigorous for many patients. As time went by, we also had ethical issues with some practises and non-evidence-based treatments being provided at the clinic.
However – we still refer some UK and European patients to our strong medical network of colleagues who are based at University hospitals in Germany.
Cancer treatments in Singapore, Malaysia and Japan have helped many of our stage IV patients achieve excellent outcomes.
Costs of procedures are generally less than Europe.
The distances from Australia to these countries are very manageable.
The standard of Cancer medicine and care is exceptional.
Overall, we are very impressed with the thoroughness of the hospitals and practitioners in our ever expanding Asian medical alliance.
Japan is a medically advanced country with cancer facilities 2nd to none.
However, navigating Japanese medical systems can be very challenging.
Our navigation package is designed to remove the stress and worry from cancer treatments in Japan.
We maintain regular contact with our Japanese medical colleagues and patients receiving treatments there.
SELF REFERRALS TO OVERSEAS CLINICS
If you are considering treatment overseas – please don’t go it alone.
Navigating one’s own way through the maze of overseas options is fraught with challenges and potential health issues not obvious at the outset…
- It is complicated – There is so much to know before embarking on an overseas trip for cancer treatment.
*From our experience, many self referred patients travel with incomplete medical records and no one to case manage or advocate on their behalf.
*This also means they may receive incomplete, inadequate or the wrong treatment.
- Patients who self refer to overseas clinics often do not return to their oncologist /doctors for ongoing monitoring and management.
*They are often lost in the system – only returning when there is an emergency.
*Failing to followup on cancer status after treatments at overseas alternative medicine clinics, is commonly communicated to us via our email inquiries when patients find themselves in distress with tumour related problems.
- With little real knowledge of treatments and the nature of cancer itself – patients rarely know the questions to ask or how to validate the treatments they received.
- Often patients self-refer to International Clinics, having chosen from the internet; or from eBooks that promote Clinics based on superficial knowledge.
Many Clinics treating cancer in Germany & Mexico are alternative medicine based – but there are a few who wisely combine conventional medicine with complementary and psychological approaches.
These can present a better option – but once again, there is a lot to know before you embark upon such a journey.
NOTE: We do not recommend alternative medicine cancer treatments clinics overseas
As one patient said: ” We didn’t know what we didn’t know until we began researching overseas cancer clinics.”
CONTACT GRACE for personalised assistance with your inquiry or for information about any overseas Cancer Treatment Centres.