Canberra's new blood cancer accommodation village at capacity, five months after opening
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Canberra's new blood cancer accommodation village at capacity, five months after opening

A new $7 million accommodation village in Canberra for people suffering from rare blood cancers is now running at capacity, five months after it opened in August last year.

The John James Village in Garran provides free accommodation to blood cancer patients, and their families, while the patients undergo treatment at Canberra hospital, mainly for leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

The Leukaemia Foundation'€™s annual Light the Night Walk.

The Leukaemia Foundation'€™s annual Light the Night Walk.

But the centre has been running at capacity since opening last year, an issue reflected by the region's major cancer centre, also running at capacity, and pointing to the need for a major new treatment centre being developed in Belconnen.

Leukaemia Foundation general manager ACT/NSW Chris McMillan said the village had been an "incredible" facility to provide patients and their families, but that "as soon as we opened the doors, it's been at capacity".

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Statistics from the ABS show blood lymphatic cancers were the eighth largest cause of death of Australians in 2010 and 2015, a burden Ms McMillan said would only increase with the nation's ageing population.

She said the numbers of people who died in the ACT from such disease had jumped from 32 in 2006 to 58 in 2015 - a large percentage increase, but still a small number reflecting the territory's low population base compared to other jurisdictions.

But Ms McMillan said the rise was also likely due to better diagnosis of blood cancers, more people were being identified as having the cancers, as well as the ageing population.

She said the foundation, which runs the village, was also appealing for donations ahead of it's major March fundraiser the World's Greatest Shave, which last year raised about $475,000 for resources including more staff and fit-out at the village.

Daniel Burdon is a reporter for The Canberra Times

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