imagePresident's Message

The “Not for Profit” sector has been in the news recently for lots of reasons. Some more favourable than others… A changing regulatory environment and likely government review make our quest to improve the corporate governance of the ANZHNCS even more timely.

Currently the ANZHNCS is an “Incorporated Association” registered in New South Wales. It has become apparent that we have outgrown this designation and the executive have been working behind the scenes and have engaged professional legal advice regarding a structure that best suits the Society for its current and future needs. Without pre-empting the outcome of that advice, it would seem that a “Company Limited by Guarantee” gives us the most appropriate reporting framework with potential for growth into the future.

For the executive that means some work on rewriting the constitution but the aim is to make the transition for the membership as smooth as possible. It is likely that we will need an Extraordinary General meeting to ratify the changes but this would be held in conjunction with the Annual General meeting in Auckland. If any members have comments to make, or expertise they can share in the transition, please do not hesitate to contact me.

In other news I have held meetings with the Cancer Council and the office of the federal Minister for Health on behalf of the society to strengthen our links with generic cancer societies, and to advocate for the treatment of head and neck cancer patients.

Other members of the executive team have been working diligently to digest the results of the member survey, improve the website, represent our interests on the MBS review committee and attend workshops on corporate governance.

Finally the planning for our meeting in October in Auckland in conjunction with the IFHNOS is proceeding very well and I look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible. Flights across the ditch are well priced so book now!

Martin Batstone



Call for Abstracts

Abstracts are invited for oral presentations and posters.

Key Dates

Abstract submission deadline: Monday 4 July 2016
Abstract notification to authors: Wednesday 27 July 2016
Closure of Early Registration: Monday 12 September 2016

Abstracts must be submitted via the meeting website: and click on the Call for Abstracts page.



Grants Update

There have been minor changes to some of the grants available through the society.

At present there are 3 grants open for application;

  1. The “Developing Nations Visitor Scheme” is available to Medical Officers and Allied Health/Nursing Staff (with a relevant higher degree in oncology or similar). Applicants are expected to attend the Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM), organise a visit to another Head and Neck Cancer centre, and are invited to present a paper on life and work in their hospital.
  2. The ‘Travelling Lectureship Scheme’ is designed to allow a Medical Officer from a developing nation to attend the ASM and visit an Australian or New Zealand Head and Neck Cancer service. If any member is aware of someone who may be eligible, and interested, for either of these awards, please direct them to the website or contact our Executive Officer, Jennifer, at
  3. The ‘Allied Health Grant and Nursing Grant Scheme’ - Nurses are now also eligible for this award. To be considered for this award an application form needs to be completed at the time that an abstract is submitted to the ASM. 

In addition to the above grants there are 4 other grants - the “best overall oral paper” and “best overall poster” prizes which are judged at the ASM, the Chris O’Brien Travelling Fellowship and the Medal of Excellence.

Information regarding all of the grant conditions and their availability is available on the ANZHNCS website under the “Grants” tab.

Julia Maclean



MDT Committee

The list of MDT’s across Australia with contact details is now available on the ANZHNCS website along with our mission statement. We are hoping to provide this for organisations such as the Cancer Council and Cancer Australia. If your MDT is listed – please check the details remain correct. If your MDT is not listed – please contact me for the template to have it uploaded. The executive plans a visit to an New Zealand MDT at the time of the Annual General Meeting.

Martin Batstone



Research Committee Report

The Research Committee are reviewing and updating the website with current research projects our members are undertaking in their departments.

If you notice that your research project is not listed on the website as yet, please email for a blank research template for completion.

The Research Committee will review the information provided and upload the information onto the website.

Richard Lewis




Since the ASM in 2015, the executive has engaged the members of the society though a survey to ascertain their desires and expectations. Of the 252 members of the Society only 44 responded. The representation of various professional groups in the survey appears to be somewhat distorted in comparison to the demonstrated activity of some groups at a Society and membership level. For example, allied health professionals only made up 8 % of respondants but they are clearly very active academically in the management of Head and Neck cancer patients.

The ASM is considered empirically by the society as the most important activity of the Society and this is reflected in the responses within the survey however provision of advice to health care institutions and advocacy for patients were other important activities in which we need to be engaged. Some other suggested areas include providing a public face and reference body for clinicians involved in treating H&N cancer and developing an inter-related national database.

In regards to website design and functions, the most important activities were considered to be dissemination of information relating to Society activities, while the members’ only section was regarded as important for payment of subscriptions, access to databases and collaborative clinical research.
Provision of a library such as that offered by larger societies may not be cost efficient, but allowing linking with these major societies may be a useful way of enhancing accessibility to published research material. Another option for education on the website would be to establish a online journal club forum. The executive would welcome comments and suggestions in relation to this and any other issues relating to the website.

Overall the website currently provides for the majority of members what they would expect of it, however increasing its relevance to daily practice and its increased usage remains a challenge. These issues are not helped by continuing problems with the functionality of the website. These have related to the speed of function and cross platform compatibility of the current operating platform and server. Renelt Belic Design has been engaged to essentially rebuild our website database and enhance its functionality.

Finally we are looking at how to and what to use on our home page to firstly utilise the space available but also to generate more interest in accessing the website and so we would encourage members to perhaps use this space to promote local activities/meetings, to recruit interest in collaborative trials or anything else consider relevant to the society and of potential interest to the membership.

Nick Marshall


imageANZHNCS Research Foundation Update

I am very pleased to advise that the ANZHNCS Research Foundation received four grant applications in the recent round of grants.

The Research Advisory Committee under the leadership of Dr. Lyndell Kelly recommended the award of 3 grants; the Board accepted their advice. Our thanks go out to the grant assessors who gave freely of their time. I am very pleased to advise that the ANZHNCS Research Foundation received four grant applications in the recent round of grants.

The Research Advisory Committee under the leadership of Dr. Lyndell Kelly recommended the award of 3 grants; the Board accepted their advice. Our thanks go out to the grant assessors who gave freely of their time.

The successful applicants were:-

Dr. Kendrick Koo, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute Melbourne.
Title “DNA sequencing on the Illumina NextSeq platform of fresh frozen tissues”.

Dr. Tami Yap, Melbourne Dental School, The University of Melbourne.
Title “Salivary extracellular vesicles containing non-coding RNA as a screening tool for the early recognition of malignant change in oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma”.

Dr. Rebecca Nund, University of Queensland
“The development and validation of the Significant Other Scale for Dysphagia in Head and Neck Cancer (SOSDYSPHAGIA H&N)”

Congratulations to the successful applicants who will be presenting the results of their research in Auckland, and encouragement to future applicants. A further round of grants will be made available towards the end of 2016. Prospective applicants should contact the secretariat.

Our fundraising activities have had a wonderful start to the year with our first member of the Centurion Club enrolled, you to can become a member with an annual donation of $1000. The Board of the Foundation is optimistic for future fundraising; think of us for a family celebration.

We are still investigating the possibility of co–sponsored PhD grants with the NH&MRC in Australia. Progress is dependant on developing strong relationships with both corporate and private donors.

David Wiesenfeld
Chairman ANZHNCS Research Foundation



imageThe New Zealand
Research Foundation Update

The New Zealand Research Foundation (NZRF) of the ANZHNCS has been established and registered as a charitable entity with Rob Allison, John Chaplin and Swee Tan (chair) being trustees. The NZRF brochure and webpage have been finalised along with other official materials.

The NZRF has opened a bank account and has received the first instalment of the seeding grant from ANZHNCS. Members of the NZRF will be holding their next teleconference in two weeks, otherwise no further updates at this stage.




Thank you to our members who have renewed for 2015/2016. If you have not done so yet, could you please organise payment as soon as possible. 

Your membership funds enables us to work towards achieving our objectives of promoting the practice of head and neck cancer and other goals outlined in the Society’s Strategic Plan.

Upcoming Meetings

2016 ANZHNCS Annual Scientific Meeting
and the International Federation of Head and Neck Oncologic Societies
(IFHNOS) 2016 World Tour, Auckland
Date: 25-27 October 2016
Meeting Convenor: Dr John Chaplin

2017 Annual Scientific Meeting, to held in Brisbane
Date: TBC
Meeting Convenors: Dr Ryan Sommerville, Dr Benjamin Chua, Ms Bena Cartmill


Executive Committee Members 2015-2016

President A/Prof Martin Batstone
Immediate Past President Dr Kerwin Shannon
Vice President Dr 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     


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), Dr Julia Maclean        

Membership Subcommittee        
Dr Tim Iseli (Chair), Dr Julia Maclean, Ms Jennifer Burgess    

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