imagePresident's Message

Firstly I must thank Kerwin Shannon for his stewardship of the society over the last 12 months and farewell Janelle Heywood who steps down from the executive.  The society under the guidance of these two recent presidents has had its processes streamlined and is set on a clear trajectory laid out in our five year strategic plan.

I am pleased to report that your society continues to progress as the recognised Australian and New Zealand Multidisciplinary Society for head and neck cancer care.  The executive whilst meeting in Cairns recently had the opportunity to review the membership and it is really a testimony to the vision of the founding members that the society now represents the interests of 16 different professional groups coming together with a common purpose.  

Membership continues to grow annually reflecting a healthy society however the executive are keen as a group to increase membership numerically and broaden our base of appeal.  The assistance of members in promoting the society to other participants in their local MDT’s and cancer care organisations is crucial to achieving this aim.

The recent World Congress for Larynx Cancer in Cairns was a great success and many thanks go to Associate Professor Robert Smee and his conference team.  There were more than 500 delegates many of whom travelled from all over the world with a very high standard of key note speakers and free papers. 
Next years scientific meeting will be held in Auckland in conjunction with the IFHNOS world tour.  The last such meeting was held in Brisbane and was a great success with very positive feedback from all attendees.  I encourage you to mark off your diaries and make time to travel to what promises to be an excellent conference.

The executive have been working behind the scenes on other areas related to the management of head and neck cancer in Australia.  Kerwin Shannon sits as the society’s representative at the MBS review committee and I have been liaising with the Australian Health Service Alliance to work on improving the coding for prosthetic rehabilitation for missing eyes, ears, noses, jaws and associated structures.  A program of meetings with generic cancer societies is planned to increase the profile of head and neck cancer and help improve resources for patients.

Finally by the time you read this newsletter hopefully you will have completed the member survey to feedback your views on the running of the society.  It is also important to reiterate that if you wish to contribute further please consider nominating for a position on the executive.

Martin Batstone


World Congress on Larynx Cancer 2015 (WCLC 2015)

Over 500 delegates from 36 countries attended the World Congress on Larynx Cancer at the Cairns Convention Centre from 26-30 July 2015. The program focussed on the care of patients with larynx cancer, not only at presentation, but in the years afterwards. The multidisciplinary congress attracted a wide range of health professionals including surgeons, oncologists, anaesthetists, trainees, speech pathologists, nurses, dietitians, psychologists and medical students.

The organising committee headed by Associate Professor Robert Smee AM FRANZCR and Associate Professor Carsten Palme FRACS, constructed a four day program with the participation of over 170 invited faculty members.

Some of the topics covered in the extensive program included epidemiology, office endoscopy, public health, airway management, database, molecular biology, supraglottic cancer, glottis, salvage treatment, chemotherapy, vocal fold wound healing, reconstruction, palliative care and the developing world along with numerous research papers.

Keynote lectures delivered by invited faculty members were a highlight and featured throughout the four day congress. Feedback from delegates indicated that the program was of a very high standard with the opportunity to attend many different sessions of interest.

Preparations are now underway for the ANZHNCS ASM and the IFHNOS 2016 World Tour which will be held from 25-27 October 2016 at The Langham Auckland, New Zealand. For more information visit

Reports from Overseas Grants Winners 


Developing Nations Visitor Scheme Winner – Dr Kunjan Acharya

Held on 26-30 July 2015 in Cairns, Queensland Australia, the World Congress on Laryngeal cancer was a very successful event organized by the Australian and New Zealand Head & Neck Cancer Society. Many delegates attended and participated in the 3 day Conference, which brought together different Specialists, Consultants and so many helping hands and companies from around the world.


First of all, I would like to thank the Australian and New Zealand Head & Neck Cancer Society for giving me the opportunity to attend the Conference. It was very interesting and gave me the opportunity to learn many issues in regards to different modalities of treatment and their results in people having Malignancy of the larynx. Being the ENT surgeon it is always exciting to interact with people of different specialties like Radiotherapists, Speech Therapists and Anaesthetists on the same floor. To summarise the unforgettable moments during the Conference, they were: It was very special moment for me to listen to the expert panel discussion in the field of laryngeal Cancer especially the talk of war to draw the conclusion; and the opportunity to listen to the discussion amongst the experts in fields like open surgery, laser Surgery and Radiotherapy helped me to widen my way of approach to my patients while treating them back here in Nepal.

It was my privilege to be able to attend the conference and it was impressive to be aware of what is happening around the world. The experience shared by the doctors from different countries was of real value to me as the shared knowledge helped broaden my views. Similarly I was impressed by the different varieties of treatment offered to the patients with similar diseases in different parts of the world and their results. This has made me think about alternative modality to my patients for whom we are offering traditional treatment only in my country.

The conference for me definitely has become a step ladder for the future in the updating of my clinical skills.

Besides the skill and Knowledge acquired during the conference at Cairns 2015, the opportunity to meet many experts in their field was an experience in itself. Taking Selfie with President of ANZHNCS and Jennifer at the conference was also fun. It was not only the doctors whom I met at Cairns but also the Vendors of different International Medical suppliers who can be a potential contact to disseminate the surgical supplies to my Country which can be a turning point in supplies and the service to patients.

imageAfter attending the conference I attended The Princess Alexandra Hospital for the observership program, which was made possible by the ANZHNCS and the Princess Alexandra Hospital (A/Prof Ben Panizza and colleagues). During the stay at Brisbane, I observed advanced surgeries for the tumor of Head and Neck, a few of which I was seeing for the first time. The team of doctors and hospital staff were very welcoming and I had good time with them too. The Multidisciplinary meeting for treatment of Laryngeal cancer was one of the best interactions and something I will miss back home.

However the best part of conference for me was to take the token of appreciation from the President of ANZHNCS, Dr Kerwin Shannon at the Gala Dinner. It was one of the great moments of my life.

In conclusion, I would like to thank ANZHNCS and especially Ms. Jennifer Burgess, who helped with the documentation and materialized my logistics. This conference has been an unforgettable period of my life.


Travelling Lectureship Grant – Dr Gurmit Kaur Bachher

I had attended the World Larynx Congress from 26th July to 30th July, 2015 in Cairns. These days were action packed with approximately 8-9 concurrent sessions with full of knowledge dispensing. Speakers from different parts of world imparted knowledge and experience. This helped me to gain more knowledge in the field of head and neck cancer. Latest topics such as robotic surgery, NewBreez introlaryngeal Prosthesis which is developed in Belgium were explained.

I visited Speech therapy department of Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney on 3rd and 4th August, 2015.

I observed the speech pathologists Virginia, Emma and Molly and also radiation oncologists from this hospital while treating patients.

  1. A female (51 years old) had completed her radiation therapy and weekly Cisplatin therapy. She was suffering from mild xerostomia and had weight loss of 6kg following the treatment. flexible laryngoscopic evaluation revealed that her arytenoids were edematous resulting in voice changes. She was also complaining of pain in opposite side of neck. She was asked to come on Friday to meet Sr. Radiation Oncologist.
  2. Patient no.2- 82 years old male had hypopharyngeal cancer (T1N2M0). He used to smoke 25 cigarettes all over his life. He came with the complaints of hoarseness of voice. He underwent radiation therapy. Speech therapists had given him vocal hygiene regime.
  3. Primary Tracheo-esophageal prosthesis insertion during total laryngectomy surgery was seen by me. Sizing of the prosthesis was done by the speech therapist and the nurse accompanied in the operation theatre.
  4. A primary TEP patient was called for speech training first time after insertion of the prosthesis. On 15th post-operative the patient was taught to speak again. After voicing a fenestrated lary tube was fitted in the tracheostoma. Patient was explained about the post-operative care of prosthesis and tracheostoma.
  5. A 51 years old female patient suffering from cancer of base of tongue had mild xerostomia and weight loss of 6 kg. Flexible laryngoscopic evalution indicated edematous artenoid. She was also complaining of pain in the neck region following radiation therapy. She was also called on Friday to meet the consultants.
  6. A patient, Mr. Anthone had hypopharyngeal cancer (T1N2M0) and complaining of hoarseness of voice. He had history of smoking 25 cigarettes per day. He was asked to come for Friday consultation.
  7. Pre chemotherapy counseling regarding the effects of chemotherapy was done.
  8. Therabite demonstration was given to a female patient undergoing radiation therapy for restricted jaw opening. Also a spray for dry mouth (zerostomia) was given to that patient.

Thank you again for this opportunity.

Dr Gurmit K Bachher



Chris O’Brien Traveling Fellowship 

A/Prof Martin Batstone has been awarded this prestigious fellowship and will be travelling to the USA in 2016. During his time overseas, he will attend the annual scientific meeting of the American Head and Neck Society (AHNS) and following the meeting he will visit various US Head and Neck cancer centres. 

Developing Nations Visitor Scheme

The 2015 Developing Nations Visitor Scheme was awarded to Dr Kunjan Acharya, ENT surgeon, from Nepal. Dr Acharya attended the World Congress on Larynx Cancer in Cairns and following this he visited the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane to attend their Head & Neck Cancer Clinic. 

Travelling Lectureship Scheme

The 2015 Travelling Lectureship Grant was awarded to Dr Gurmit Bachher, Speech Pathologist, from India. Dr Bachher presented at the World Congress on Larynx Cancer and then visited the Speech Pathology department and Head and Neck team at Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney. 

Allied Health Grant

The 2015 prize recipient was Ms. Danielle Stone, Speech Pathologist from Westmead Hospital, Sydney, for her paper “Voice-specific and Health-related Quality of Life following Transoral Laser Microsurgery for early glottis cancer” 

Best Overall Oral Presentation

The 2015 prize recipient for best overall paper was Dr Adam Maciejewski, from the Institute of Oncology – Maria Sklodowska-Curie Mem, Gliwice, Poland for "Microvascular reconstruction of extended defects of Pharynx-Esophageous, Larynx and Trachea"

Best Overall Poster Presentation 

The 2015 prize recipient for best overall poster was Dr Jung-Hae Cho, from The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea, was awarded this prize for his poster "Anti-cancer effects of Colchicines on Hypopharyngeal Cancer"

Coman Kennedy Laser Scholarship 

Unfortunately due to lack of ongoing funding this scholarship is presently unavailable.

Information regarding all of the grant conditions and their availability is available on the website.


SubCommittee Reports

MDT Report

The Society's aim to list all MDT’s across Australia and New Zealand has been proceeding well with more added regularly.

The next phase of the MDT project is to cross link with generic cancer societies such as the Cancer Council and Cancer Australia to provide patients with an easy pathway to their nearest MDT.
Please take the time to review the website and check that the details remain correct for your hospital.  It is appreciated that people move on and clinicians change so please update details via the MDT subcommittee or

If you notice your MDT is not listed please email for a blank template. 

Research Report

The Research Committee have continued to review and update 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 onto the website. 

Website Report

As part of the current five year strategic plan, the executive of the Society has sort to address various deficiencies in the website and to enhance its functionality.  One of the aims has been to enable online payment of subscriptions as a priority and it is fait to say that this has been achieved. Members are now able to access their membership status and make their subscription payments through the website. 

The structure of the website has also been changed to allow easier access to sections relating to multidisciplinary teams and their meetings and also more visible listing of research projects undertaken buy society members.  A proforma exists for each and is downloadable on request from the ANZHNCS Executive Officer, Jennifer Burgess. All research projects need to still be directed through Richard Lewis and then uploaded to the website. Now that the website is more functional, it can now be expected that submissions will appear in a more timely fashion than previously.

Finally, to ascertain the Society’s needs and expectations in regard to the website, a survey has been recently distributed to all members with the Survey-Monkey link below:

We encourage all members to participate in the survey. The due date/closure date for the survey will be 20 November 2015. Results will be published in the next Newsletter.

Nick  Marshall
Brian Stein

Website Subcommittee


ANZHNCS Research Foundation Update

I am pleased to advise that I was appointed as Chair of the Australian and New Zealand Head and Neck Cancer Society Research Foundation (Australian Fund) in January 2015. I wish to express my appreciation on behalf of our Advisory Board to Associate Professor Gary Morgan who retired from the role of Chair in December 2014, and Associate Professor Robert Smee the Founding Chair of the Foundation for his vision in establishing the Foundation. Dr Janelle Heywood has also retired from the Board at the conclusion of her term as Immediate Past President of ANZHNCS. Our current Board Members are Associate Professor Suren Krishnan who serves as Deputy Chair, Dr Julia Maclean Vice President of ANZHNCS, Dr Lyndell Kelly Chair of the Scientific Committee, Mr Morris Margolis Lawyer Chair of Fundraising, Mr Ross Noye Senior Private Client Adviser Macquarie Group, Dr Kerwin Shannon Immediate Past President of ANZHNCS and Dr Ardalan Ebrahimi.  A representative team with enthusiastic support from outside of the Society.

The regulatory environment in Australia for Public Ancillary Funds such as ours is complex. We have recently updated our Trust Deed to be compliant with ATO requirements. The updated Trust Deed was prepared pro-bono by ABL Lawyers Mr Joey Borensztajn in Melbourne. We are grateful for the support of ABL Lawyers. Compliance with the ACNC has been updated with the support of a donor by PricewaterhouseCoopers who will provide ongoing accounting and compliance services.


Grant applications have now been called for. We are offering 2 grants for this calendar year within Australia, totalling $10,000. Applications close on the 30th of November 2015. They are targeted to young researchers hoping to either start a higher degree or support existing projects in Head and Neck Cancer. Application forms are available from Ms Jennifer Burgess Executive Officer ANZHNCS, or by download from our website.

We have commenced investigation into the possibility of a co-funding partnership with the Australian NHMRC. Progress in these arrangements will be dependant upon further fundraising activities and support from the membership of ANZHNCS.

Research Portfolio

The Board is developing a Research Portfolio for the Foundation. 
I would be grateful if you would all provide to Ms Jennifer Burgess, a list of your Publications for the calendar years 2013-15, as well as current research projects and trials which you are involved in.

Fundraising initiatives

Suren Krishnan has proposed several fundraising initiatives that are strongly supported by the Board.

  • Establishing a Centurion Club, 100 member donors who pledge an annual donation of $1000. As the club evolves, special activities will be arranged for club members. 
  • Facilitating donations from patients and their families who have been touched by Head and Neck Cancer. We all have patients and families who ask “ Is there anything we can do to help other patients and families by promoting an understanding of the causes and improving treatments for Head and Neck Cancer patients”.
  • Promoting opportunities for members to arrange for festivity donations, “ In lieu of gifts for my birthday celebrations, wedding anniversary etc, please make a donation to the ANZHNCS Research Foundation”
  • Encourage benefactions from the estates of treating clinicians and patients.

I encourage all members to make donations to The ANZHNCS Research Foundation, so that research into Head and Neck Cancer in Australia and New Zealand can flourish, and make a difference to the care we provide and patient outcomes.

Associate Professor David Wiesenfeld
Chairman ANZHNCS Research Foundation


The 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