Pallet fundraiser saves lives


THE humble timber pallet has morphed into a cancer diagnostic device.
Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation CEO Tony Franz met with The Power of Pallets instigator Kate Fern this week to see how the flexible nasoendoscopes work.
Valued at almost $18,000, Cairns Hospital cancer services specialist radiation oncologist Dr Luke McGhee said the scopes are used to assess patients who are being monitored for head and neck cancers.
“They enable us to directly see the original site of the cancer and the rest of the internal aspect of the throat where these patients are at risk for second cancers also.  Currently using the scopes alone we are unable to take pictures of what we see.  Having access to these pictures will enable other doctors to be able to directly assess whether there have been any changes since they were seen by us,” Dr McGhee said.
“The ability to record any changes we see over time is hugely important in being able to detect any subtle changes that may be the early signs of cancer.  The monitor also gives us a superior view of the area than the scopes alone which again enhances our ability to detect any changes that may indicate recurrent cancer.
“This monitor is going to make the early detection of recurrent cancer or a second head and neck cancer in these high risk patients easier.  Early detection is important in giving these patients the best chance of cure.  Again we are very happy to be able to add this valuable equipment to our toolkit for caring for our patients, and we are very grateful to the Hospital Foundation for supplying this to us.  They continue to be a great support to our service making a big difference to our ability to give our patients the best care possible.”
Ms Fern said the number of people whose lives were impacted by cancer was simply staggering.
“At our event last year we had band members whose family members affected by cancer, two of our volunteers have lost husbands and fathers to cancer since the event, and a dear friend who was a great supporter of the event is fighting her own cancer battle, so it is great to see that the money raised this year will go to help fight this horrible disease,” Ms Fern said.
Mr Franz said it was always rewarding to directly see the impacts of fundraising on patient outcomes. “Every cent donated to us stays local and goes towards its intended cause and we always love these occasions when we can hand over a piece of equipment and hear from the medical and nursing staff about how they can make a difference and potentially save people’s lives,” Mr Franz said.

Photo: Cairns Hospital cancer services radiation oncologist Dr Luke McGhee, with Kate Fern, oncology pharmacist Jason Black and Foundation CEO Tony Franz.


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