Lifetime achievement award won’t mean let up in research
I was very humbled last week when I was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the British Association of Head & Neck Oncologists.
In the citation , Prof Vindh Paleri, the President of the BAHNO, commended me on my research work over 20-year period with several trials which have changed the practice of head and neck oncology worldwide.
He also highlighted my dedication to the organisation, having sat on the BAHNO council as oncology representative for two terms. I have also been a veteran lecturer at their meetings, especially leading two teams in the “great debate” session of the annual meeting in recent years.
Vital importance of research
Research has been an important part of my career, and I am proud to have played a key role in the development of Intensity-Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT), an advanced form of Radiation therapy.
In collaboration with the Institute of Cancer Research, my team at the Royal Marsden Hospital organised a series of randomised trials using IMRT aimed at reducing the potentially debilitating side-effects of radiotherapy treatment for head and neck cancers.
The ground-breaking advances in radiotherapy have improved outcomes for tens of thousands of patients and have been adopted my many countries worldwide.
Used to treat other cancers
Not only that, but the precision technique has also been adopted for the treatment of many other forms of cancer, helping to deliver more targeted radiotherapy and reduce side effects caused by damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
Ongoing research is of course vital for the progress of medicine to better serve patients and I am pleased to say that the research environment in the UK is far better today than it was in the 1990s when radiotherapy research was in crisis.
The Lifetime Achievement Award is very flattering and I am incredibly grateful to my colleagues and fellow healthcare professionals, who also deserve to be recognised for their tireless and dedicated work often going over and above what anyone could have expected.
I myself will not be resting on my laurels and plan to continue a busy research programme working with colleagues across the UK and internationally.