Construction of the $35 million Western Cancer Centre in Dubbo reached its highest point on Friday with the completion of the structural works on the building.
To celebrate the milestone a traditional tree topping-out ceremony was held at the Dubbo Hospital.
Acting executive director of operations for the Western NSW Local Health District Debbie Bickerton said she was "excited" to be standing on the top floor of the cancer centre.
"To talk about something is one thing, and to get the funding for something and plan it on a piece of paper, but when you see it and you can feel it, I think that makes a huge difference," she said.
When complete, the new centre will include 16 chemotherapy spaces, a bunker for radiation treatment and a PET CT scanner for cancer diagnostics, the only one west of the Blue Mountains.
Ms Bickerton said the facility was a real game changer for people in the area, which will service a population of about 150,000 people in the western region.
"It will definitely save lives," she said.
"One of the biggest things in our district is the late diagnosis of people with cancer, and then in addition to that there's quite a number of people living in our catchment who choose not to have treatment because of that need to travel.
"So I think this will lead to earlier diagnosis for people and it will lead to an increase in people having, particularly radiotherapy, because the numbers out here are very low, the percentage of people having radiotherapy is the lowest in the state."
Federal Member for Parkes and minister for regional health Mark Coulton said over the last 13 years as the federal member for the electorate he has never seen a project that had the support and enthusiasm of so many people.
"There's a huge amount of ownership for this project, this is not just a project for the federal government, the state government or Western Health, this is a project that's owned by the community, it's been fought for, it's been gained and it has an enormous need," he said.
Mr Coulton said the centre will provide people out west closer access to crucial care and support, and allow patients to stay closer to their loved ones during treatment.
"We're all motivated by different things, I'm motivated by the premature death of my mother to cancer 20 years ago this year, and knowing when you live in the extremities of the state, the difficulties of having treatment, and the other things that come around it when you have to travel away from your family and friends ... it's just going to make such a difference," he said.
"I don't think anything's got me more excited or proud than this project, and I look around and think everyone here feels the same, this is something that's very, very worthwhile."
The milestone follows the first concrete pour for the new bunker in June, and Mr Coulton said the project was on track for completion in mid-2021.
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