Fingal Bay Associate Professor Ron Newland presented with Royal College of Pathologists award

AWARDED: Professor Ron Newland receiving the Article of the Year award from the editor of the journal Pathology, Professor Brett Delahunt.
AWARDED: Professor Ron Newland receiving the Article of the Year award from the editor of the journal Pathology, Professor Brett Delahunt.

A retired Fingal Bay pathologist has been recognised for nearly 40 years of published work and data analysis on patients who have been surgically treated for Australia's second most deadly disease, bowel cancer.

Earlier this year Associate Professor Ron Newland, 79, was presented with the 2018 Article of the Year award by the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia for a paper on bowel cancer which was published in the journal Pathology.

The joint award was shared with Prof Newland's co-author and statistician, Dr Owen Dent.

"It was hugely satisfying and a great honour to receive the award," Prof Newland said.

"The work spans nearly 40 years, has involved more than 5000 patients and resulted in approximately 100 publications."

By analysing the data from patients treated surgically for bowel cancer at Concord Hospital, Prof Newland and Dr Dent were able to demonstrate in their article how the widely used TNM System for cancer staging could be improved.

"Accurate staging of cancer remains the best guide to both patient survival and to decisions made on the need for further treatment after surgery.

"It also provides a foundation to enable comparisons between different methods of treatment and for assessing the results from different treatment centres.

The bowel cancer study was commenced in 1971 by Professors Newland and Murray Pheils (colorectal surgeon), with one important finding being that, following the introduction of the test for blood in the motions and the use of colonoscopy, there has been a significant increase in the proportion of patients diagnosed and treated for the disease before the development of symptoms.

"As a consequence more tumours were found to be at an earlier stage of development at the time of surgery. This in turn was reflected by a very encouraging improvement in patient survival."

The findings, published in 2017 in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Surgery, provide valuable objective support for the current government program of population screening for the detection of blood in the motions.

Professor Ron Newland with his framed certificate at his Fingal Bay home.

Professor Ron Newland with his framed certificate at his Fingal Bay home.

For 30 years Prof Newland was the head pathologist at Sydney's Concord Hospital, and during his career he was awarded a doctorate (MD) for his work in pathology and he was an Associate Professor at the University of Sydney Faculty of Medicine.

The award-winning paper could possibly change the way that pathological specimens from cancer patients are classified world-wide, with implications of improved patient outcomes. The UK, USA and Europe use a different method of classification that may result in sub-optimal treatment.

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