Surgical Oncology

Surgical Oncology

A Chair of Surgical Oncology will continue Professor Stephens' legacy of medical innovation into the future

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In 2015, Macquarie University and Professor Fred Stephens commenced a partnership to reinstate a Chair of Surgical Oncology, ensuring a dedicated research and development centre for this revolutionary form of cancer treatment. To successfully reinstate the Chair at Macquarie University, $5 million funding is required.

Professor Fred Stephens was a pioneer cancer surgeon in the field of surgical oncology. He passed away in November 2015. We need your help to support this highly specialised and effective cancer treatment by reinstating the Surgical Oncology position.

Funds raised will be put to use immediately, and will enable a newly-appointed Professor of Surgical Oncology to conduct research and support patient care.  Once the fund reaches $5 million, the Chair of Surgical Oncology will be formally appointed.

Surgical Oncology at Macquarie University

A Chair of Surgical Oncology is a position that is commonly hosted in universities, teaching hospitals or clinical schools around the world. In Australia, the Chair of Surgical Oncology position will be hosted at Macquarie University Hospital should sufficient funds be raised.

The Chair of Surgical Oncology at Macquarie University Hospital is dedicated to specialist surgical training and the establishment of research collaborations, which coincides with the current integrated approach to cancer recognised at the Macquarie University Hospital.

Macquarie University is working with Michael Field – Strategic Marketing Consultants and Professor Stephens' family to raise the $5 million required to host and support the on-going Chair position at the Hospital.

"We're greatly honoured to partner with Professor Stephens and his family, and to ensure his exceptional legacy of medical innovation continues into the future."  - Professor Patrick McNeil, Executive Dean, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Macquarie University Hospital has a track record of innovative approaches to medicine with a bench-to-bedside approach to research. As the only Australian university with a private hospital on campus, Macquarie University is in a unique position with its new Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences located directly opposite the Hospital. Patients can literally walk down a corridor and be seen and tested by talented clinicians and leading researchers who are conducting ground breaking medical research.  

The Chair of Surgical Oncology would be ideally placed at Macquarie University, where its state-of-the-art facilities, research excellence and the latest in technology, function and design will foster ground-breaking cancer research and treatment.

What is Surgical Oncology?

Surgical oncology is used to treat rare and ‘incurable’ cancers and has a great success rate in removing the cancer and helping patients to live longer.

Surgical oncology is a form of cancer treatment involving the coordination of surgery with radiation and chemotherapy. It is part of an integrated plan of management for locally advanced solid tumours. Systematic chemotherapy is used to downsize primarily inoperable tumours. When the tumours fail to respond, or respond poorly, attempts are made to administer chemotherapeutics via the arterial route to achieve higher local drug exposure and response rates.

Through the use of intra-arterial treatment, surgical oncology is a more concentrated and less toxic treatment plan, with patients receiving targeted radiation to the region of cancer before undergoing surgery once the cancer has been minimised.

About Professor Fred Stephens 

Emeritus Professor Fred Stephens was born on 7 August 1927 in rural Australian town Kurmond. He grew up in the Depression without electricity or running water, however went on to become one of Australia’s leading surgeons and campaigners. 

Professor Stephens was the first person in the world to propose, perform and report day surgery – now a normal medical procedure experienced by over 1 million patients every year in Australia.

He pioneered new treatment methods for localised advanced solid tumours including intra-arterial treatment or surgical oncology. His concept of integrating surgical techniques of regional chemotherapy with systematic drug and radiation therapy is now standard in hospitals around the world and is known as multidisciplinary cancer care. This treatment is successful at treating advanced cancers deemed incurable by referring doctors, with many of Professor Stephens’ patients outliving their initial expectancy, going forward to live a normal life, void of cancer. Professor Stephens said the benefits of regional chemotherapy enabled oncologists to ‘poison the cancer, not the patient’.

Professor Fred Stephens held the position of Chair of Surgical Oncology at the University of Sydney until his retirement in 1995. Since his retirement, no successor has been appointed to continue his work, due to lack of necessary skills, experience and university funding.

Throughout Professor Stephens’ career, he was the official surgeon to many visiting heads of state including the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, the Shah of Persia, and US President.

Professor Fred Stephens passed away in November 2015 at the age of 88.

Poison the cancer, not the patient.

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