Like almost everyone in our community I have had close family members and friends suffer from cancer. Mostly they have done well, but not always. I became an oncologist not because of this personal experience. That came later.
I became an oncologist because it was a fascinating and exciting medical speciality, full of promise for the future.
Oncology was one of the first medical areas to fully embrace evidence based medicine. The first large randomised trials in breast cancer showed that even moderately effective treatments can improve cure rates, but only when used accurately, and at the right time.
Ensuring quality in cancer care, using science, has always been an important goal throughout my career.
Specialist training took me from Canberra to Sydney, then back to Canberra, as a registrar and then a consultant. There was a short stint at Oxford. Cancer Council ACT (then ACT Cancer Society) was a very small organisation when I joined the board in 1986! I stepped down from the Board in 1999 (after 13 years). However, I have always seen Cancer Council ACT as a great organisation that helps control cancer, utilising meagre resources to achieve great results.
Non-government organisations like Cancer Council ACT are important because they are non government. Cancer Council ACT is a wonderful example of the community working together to solve the problem of cancer. It is an honour to be part of it. I was therefore delighted to be asked to rejoin the Board in 2013 and to be elected as Honorary Secretary last year.