Dr Katharine Hodgkinson was delighted to be invited to the launch of a collaboration between the Northern Sydney Local Health District and Avner Foundation held on 3rd December at the Collings Institute, St Leonards. The collaboration aims to improve research and treatment for patients living with pancreatic cancer. As we know, pancreatic cancer is often diagnosed at an advanced stage, and while there has been progress in recent years in treatment outcomes, unfortunately these advances have not been as significant as those achieved for other cancer sites.
Awareness and research funding relative to lives lost to the disease has also been historically been low and not received the attention is needs. As treatment typically involves major surgery, chemotherapy and access to clinical trials this can be a barrier for patients living a distance from major treatment centres and for those in rural and remote Australia, and may result in patients not being given the option of best practice care and a chance at survival.
At the launch a panel of experts delivered a range of presentations on the disease, provided insights into the lived experience of a diagnosis from a patients perspective, and an overview of the intended role of the collaboration between the NSLHD and Avner Foundation for improving care. Professor Jas Samra’s interesting presentation reviewed data on reduced morbidity for surgery conducted at specialist multi-disciplinary team centres, and the benefits of experienced surgical teams who gain experience in very challenging surgery being able to train and share their skills with other surgical colleagues. It is so very encouraging that excellent local health care teams and Avner Foundation are looking towards improving outcomes for all patients and their families affected by this diagnosis.
Photo: Panel discussion with Deb Wilcox (Avner Foundation), Michelle Stewart (NSLHD), Prof Jas Samra (RNSH) and Prof Nick Pavlakis (Medical Oncologist), facilitated by Gilbert Lorquet (NORTH Foundation).