August 2017 Newsletter

President's Message

World Head and Neck Cancer day has passed for another 12 months.  This year saw a number of events held in almost all states across the country including cancer screening, dinners, education days, book launches and of course the Winter Ball in Brisbane.  It marks a significant increase in activity this year for our society and hopefully we have managed to use the day to advance some of the stated aims of our 

society including raising the profile of head and neck cancer, and educating the public and other medical colleagues.

The Winter Ball was held at the Riverlife Centre in Brisbane and although some of you from the Southern States will no doubt consider winter in Brisbane to be an oxymoron it was a great opportunity for those who attended to dress up and enjoy a social evening with colleagues, former and current patients, friends and family whilst raising some much needed funds for research through the ANZHNCS foundation.  A special thanks to Sarah Wilson and her team for the organisation of the evening, and David Wiesenfeld as Chair of the foundation for supporting the event.

Financially the society is in a healthy position thanks to a successful meeting in Auckland, and of course the membership subscriptions.  I hope those of you who have renewed your membership found the system much improved over previous years and for those of you yet to renew I would encourage you to get online!  If you feel you have more time or enthusiasm to contribute to the society please get in touch as the executive is always eager to encourage new membership and as we move through the executive there are always vacancies arising for people with a passion to get involved.

Finally I would encourage you to join us in Brisbane for the Annual Scientific Meeting.  Drs Ryan Sommerville, Ben Chua and Bena Cartmill have put together a great program of invited speakers, free papers and of course the debates where national and international experts will go toe to toe in hopefully what will prove to be informative and entertaining sessions.  This year we are also trialling pre conference workshops held on the Wednesday which are free of charge to registered delegates.  If any of these take your interest please sign up for some extra sessions on topics of interest to you.

A/Prof Martin D Batstone
President, ANZHNCS

Grants Subcommittee Report

2017 Awards

We are currently reviewing the applications for the Developing Nations Visitor Scheme and The Travelling Lectureship Grant that closed at the end of July and we will be notifying the successful applicants in the coming weeks. Allied health and nursing staff who have had their abstracts accepted for an oral presentation at the Scientific Meeting are eligible to apply for the $1000 prize for the best paper. If you did not indicate that you would like to be considered for this award at the time of submitting your abstract, please notify Alyson Botha at RACS, (e: who will assist you with your application. The best overall poster prize is automatically open to all attendees who are successful in having a poster accepted and a $500 award for the best poster will be presented in Brisbane.

Multidisciplinary Team Visits

The Executive are keen to assist any MDT teams across Australia and New Zealand in providing excellent care. These visits are at the request of local clinicians and the purpose is to provide any support to teams within their health services. Although we are not in a position to critique MDT’s and we acknowledge there are no ‘accepted standards’ in running an MDT at present, previous visits have assisted to provide some leverage with supporting equipment and staffing needs. Additionally, the visit has enabled the ANZHNCS Executive to formally recognise the work being conducted by the MDT. We would be very happy to receive any feedback from the members as to how the Executive may be better able to support your MDT and ensure the continued excellent multidisciplinary management of head and neck cancer across Australia and New Zealand.  Please contact us via if you feel your MDT could benefit from a visit to advocate on your behalf. 

World Head and Neck Cancer Day

World head and neck cancer day occurred on Thursday the 27th of July. This international event was well supported in Australia with events taking place all around Australia and in Auckland, New Zealand.  Several hospitals that manage head and neck cancer held walk in screening clinics and there were also educational sessions on prevention for the general public. These included in NSW, the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, Liverpool Hospital, Blacktown Hospital, Westmead Hospital, the Calvary Hospital in Newcastle and the Coffs Harbour health Campus. The Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, the Royal Perth in WA, the Flinders Center for Innovation in cancer in Adelaide and the Burnie NW hospital in Tasmania also held clinics. Charity fund raising events in aid of ongoing and innovative research for head and neck cancers reported very good support and successful evenings in Brisbane and Adelaide. It is expected that activities related to World Head and Neck Cancer day will expand in the coming years and the ANZHNC Society will provide ongoing information about these events into the future.

South Eastern Sydney Local Health District - Celebrate World Head and Neck Day

Staff at St Vincent’s Hospital/Kinghorn Cancer Centre and St George Hospital Cancer Care Centre both had events for World Head and Neck Cancer Day on Thursday July 27, 2017.

At St Vincent’s the festivities started with a breakfast and awareness campaign by all of the Head and Neck Team across the campus and culminated with an event in the evening where Julie McCrossin launched “The Swallows.” A/Prof Richard Gallagher spoke about the changing face of Head and Neck Cancer with HPV and Nicola Hardingham, Senior Speech Pathologist, spoke of “great life after laryngectomy.” The evening facilitated a rare opportunity for patients, carers, administrators, researchers and health professionals to came together and have conversations regarding treatment, research and survivorship following a head and neck cancer diagnosis.

The Head and Neck team at the Cancer Care Centre, St George Hospital, joined the SESLHD Oral Health to provide a free health promotion event. The SESLHD Mobile Dental Unit was taken out on its maiden voyage to Kogarah Town Square. The purpose of the event was to provide free oral screenings to the public in addition to information regarding smoking cessation, good oral hygiene and education regarding risk factors for oral cancer. The screening was extremely successful, 40 people between the ages of 28-91 had a screening assessment completed in a 4 hour period. Nine mucosal abnormalities were detected with a follow-up plan put into place. Additionally, the event allowed education regarding the SESLHD Oral Health service to be provided, during screening 16 patients were found to be eligible for free dental services.   The feedback from the public was extremely positive and staff involved felt it was fantastic to collaborate with other clinicians to promote oral health and raise the awareness of oral cancer.

St Vincent’s Hospital/Kinghorn Cancer 

St George Hospital Cancer Care Centre/SESLHD Oral 

Australia and New Zealand Head and Neck Cancer Society Holds its Inaugural Fundraising Evening - 28 July

The first ANZHNCS fundraising event in support of World Head and Neck Cancer Day took place in the form of 'The Winter Ball'.  Set against the backdrop of the Brisbane River, the evening allowed patients, carers, nurses, allied health, specialists and their family and friends to come together for a good cause. The event aimed to raise awareness of the day, as well as funds to support ongoing research. 

A/Prof Martin Batstone opened the evening, thanking the generosity of guests and raffle prize donators. A/Prof David Wiesenfeld then outlined the work of the Research Foundation that would be supported by the funds raised.

Jessica, an inspirational young head and neck cancer survivor, spoke of her struggles with diagnosis and treatment in her first year of University and how she found hope with the support of her treating team and family. A message of hope was also shared by Carly, a mother and widow after losing her young husband less than 12 months ago.

Founder of Head and Neck Cancer Support Australia, Marty Doyle, described the origin and development of the support group and the exciting collaboration with The Swallows (UK) to produce the Australian Edition of the “Head and Neck Cancer Patient & Carer Book”.  

A number of local businesses, including Sunfresh Linen, The Valley Pool, Tangalooma Island Resort and Village Roadshow Theme Parks, donated raffle prizes. Carmen Patterson from Brisbane-based boutique travel agency 'API Travel' attended to personally award $1000 travel vouchers to two lucky winners.

The evening came to a close after the exchange of many stories and experiences as well as a little dancing. The ANZHNCS Winter Ball was a positive and successful night with all funds raised supporting the ongoing work of the Research Foundation.  

ANZHNCS Annual Scientific Meeting 2017


Early registration closes on 28 August 2017 for the meeting.  To view the program click here
Meeting Convenors: Dr Ryan Sommerville, Dr Benjamin Chua, Ms Bena Cartmill

Message from Associate Professor David Wiesenfeld, Chairman ANZHNCS Research Foundation (Australia)

A bright start to a new financial year for the ANZHNCS Research Foundation.

Research Grants:

We have just received 12 excellent applications for research funds from members. Dr Lyndell Kelly and her team are assessing the applications. The successful applicants will be announced at our Annual Scientific Meeting in October.  $25,000 is available this year for grants

The Research Foundation has a session in the ASM when previous successful grant winners will present their results.

Associate Professor Peter Graham University of New South Wales - Understanding the effect of regional dosimetry and lymphoedema on swallow dysfunction.

Dr. Bruce Ashford Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at RPA - Unraveling genetic markers of progression and metastases in Head and Neck Cutaneous

Associate Professor Jonathan Clark Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at RPA - Analysis of RNA in metastatic cutaneous SCC with nanostring

Dr Rebecca Nund University of Queensland- Dysphagia Studies


2016 was a very successful financial year for fundraising, a total of $22,000 was donated.


A Fundraising Gala Dinner was held in Brisbane on 28 July 2017 to celebrate World Head and Neck Cancer Day. Congratulations to Sarah Wilson and Martin Batstone for a great effort.

Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Research:

The Board has established an Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Research Fund with an initial donation of $2000. Members are encouraged to apply for grants to study Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma.

Donation forms for the Foundation can be downloaded from the ANZHNCS website, why not consider joining with us to support Australian Research into Head and Neck Cancer and help us to make a difference.


Mr. Ross Noye, Member of the Foundation Board who passed away tragically during a fundraising bicycle ride in New Zealand. Our condolences to his family and friends.

Executive Committee Members 2016-2017

President A/Prof Martin Batstone
Immediate Past President Dr Kerwin Shannon
Vice President A/Prof Julia Maclean
Secretary Dr Tim Iseli
Treasurer Dr Michael Collins

Dr John Chaplin, Dr Richard Lewis, Dr Nicholas Marshall, Dr Tsien Fua, Dr Brian Stein, Dr James Bowman     

Sub Committees:

Nominating Committee
Dr Kerwin Shannon (Chair), Dr Janelle Heywood, A/Prof Martin Batstone

Grant Subcommittee
Dr Julia Maclean (Chair), Dr Tim Iseli, Dr Kerwin Shannon

MDT Subcommittee
A/Prof Martin Batstone (Chair), A/Prof Julia Maclean        

Membership Subcommittee        
Dr Tim Iseli (Chair), A/Prof Julia Maclean

Research Subcommittee
Dr Richard Lewis (Chair), Dr Kerwin Shannon, Dr Michael Collins

PR & Website Subcommittee
A/Prof Martin Batstone (Chair), Dr Nicholas Marshall, Dr Brian Stein, Dr Kerwin Shannon

Awards Subcommittee        
A/Prof Martin Batstone (Chair), Dr Kerwin Shannon, Dr Michael Collins