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Surgeon on a mission to make a difference

With no national or international screening program for early detection of head and neck cancer, a Royal North Shore Hospital ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon has set his sights on changing the landscape.

In March, Dr Leo Pang held the first Australian screening clinic at Royal North Shore Hospital to raise awareness about head and neck cancer and offered free screening to detect early cancers. With over 60 members of the public attending the one-day clinic another one is being planned for later in the year.  

“Head and neck cancers rank seventh in Australia and early detection is key in the fight against cancer,” Leo said.

“Early detection is key in the fight against cancer. Together with my colleagues at Royal North Shore we are pioneering a screening program that could pave the way for future screening programs, allowing for early detection of head and neck cancer.”

Participants took part in the simple 15-minute screening which included a questionnaire, risk factor assessment and a clinical examination. They were informed about the results and risk stratified into low, intermediate or high risk for head and neck cancer, with appropriate investigations and follow up arranged before leaving the clinic.

With the support of the Surgical Education Research and Training (SERT) Institute at Royal North Shore Hospital, the program and results will be analysed and incorporated in future service planning.  

Leo said he will continue working on improving the program and raising awareness with GPs and the public on head and neck cancer.

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