Westmead welcomes international cancer experts

An inaugural cancer symposium was held on Friday to mark the first anniversary of the Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre at Westmead Hospital.

Cancer experts from Denmark and the Sydney West Cancer Network spoke at the event at Sydney Olympic Park, which gave cancer experts from opposite ends of the globe a chance to discuss the diagnosis, management and treatment of cancer.

Sydney West Cancer Network director, Paul Harnett, said members hoped the event would increase clinical, research and educational activities within the centre and promote new collaborations between Australian and Danish clinicians and researchers.

“Collaboration is key in allowing us to explore opportunities to further develop and improve cancer care services for patients in our community,” Proffessor Harnett said.

A statement from Crown princess Mary was read to attendees before the presentations began.

Presenters at the symposium included Danish Cancer Society director Hans Henrik Storm and Cai Grau, a professor of oncology at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark.

The Sydney West Cancer Network was represented by David Gottlieb, whose work involves the use of immune system cells to fight cancer and infections, melanoma specialist Rick Kefford and gastroenterologist Eric Lee, who uses a world-leading technique to treat early stage bowel cancers.

Dr Lee said early stage and pre-cancerous bowel polyps were removed through a colonoscopy to avoid bowel surgery with the technique, which had been used at Westmead Hospital for about 10 years.

‘‘The progression of bowel cancer is fairly slow compared to other internal [cancers] in the body,’’ he said.

‘‘For cancers that haven’t invaded a deep lining in the bowel wall they can still be removed with the camera.’’

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