Local cancer research recognised on world stage

The Mid North Coast Local Health District (MNCLHD) is leading the way in cancer research with specialist staff appearing on the global stage to share findings of clinical trials and programs that are improving healthcare for regional patients.

The dedicated staff from the Mid North Coast Cancer Institute centres at Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie have been invited to prominent national and international conferences to talk about significant research projects.

MNCLHD Director of Research and Knowledge Translation Tony Lower said staff would speak on a range of topics from care options for ovarian cancer, to the integration of vital signs monitoring with electronic medical records and the introduction of new technologies for regional liver treatment.

“These guest speaker engagements will showcase the quality of our research programs and commitment to excellence in healthcare,” Mr Lower said.

“For example, the district’s Director of Cancer Services Associate Professor Tom Shakespeare will present two research papers at an international conference in Chicago next week – the highly prestigious American Society for Radiation Oncology’s (ASTRO) annual meeting which attracts around 10,000 delegates.

“The first paper is an evaluation of patient involvement in choosing their cancer treatment through shared decision-making with their oncologist, while the second presentation will discuss a world first – the outcomes of men from the Mid North Coast using PET scans to help target radiation therapy to the prostate and lymph nodes.
“It is rare to be offered a talk at ASTRO and this confirms the high quality and standard of research work that is being undertaken locally.”

The MNCLHD had been performing important clinical trials and quality assurance programs for about a decade, building on its research and innovation capacity.

“Everything that we do in research is about helping the people in our community by providing world-class locally-based services,” A/Prof Shakespeare said.

“We have also been successful in publishing local research and quality assurance outcomes in peer reviewed scientific journals such as the Australasian Physical and Engineering Sciences in Medicine, Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences and Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Oncology.”