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The cancer centre is a part of the Virga Jesseziekenhuis (580 beds). The oncology units are very closely located in the hospital. The radiotherapy unit comprises 3 linear accelerators, the hospitalisation medical oncology 30 beds, haematology 17 beds, large outpatient clinic, aferese unit and the palliative care unit 7 beds.

The physicians involved in the care for oncology patients are radiotherapy-oncologists (3), internal medicine-medical oncology (2), internal medicine-haematology (4), called "Limburgs Oncologisch Centrum" and palliative care (1 full-time physician). The physician involved in palliative care is a general practitioner with extensive palliative care training (first training in the U.K. in 1988) and full time experience for 10 years, training other doctors in palliative care. Together with a psychologist and 2 nurses he is member of the palliative support team on the oncology wards. There is a very closely and daily interaction between all engaged physicians, in this manner oncology patients are treated by a multidisciplinary team. There is a dedicated and well-trained nursing department for oncology patients, most nurses follow on a regular basis education for oncology nursing. The nurses working on the palliative care department are dedicated only for providing palliative care.

In a recent national survey for primary care physicians, our oncology centre was quoted as 4th best oncology centre nationwide. Our centre's goal is to provide integrated and personal care for all cancer patients, based on high quality cancer care.

A special unit provides clinical trials to our patients, we were the first centre in the region to provide oncologic rehabilitation and we offer services for all tumour-types. Special attention is given to the psychosocial support, close cooperation with the general practitioners. A multidisciplinary breast cancer unit exists complying to the EUSOMA guidelines.

Supportive care is a special point of attention: laser unit for treating mucositis, scalp coolers. The radiotherapy unit offers brachytherapy and stereotactic irradiation. The haematology unit offers a full service including auto-transplantations.

Oncology Center Virga Jesseziekenhuis, Hasselt, Belgium

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