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Blog Diary 2017

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3/11/<strong>2017</strong> #HnCTour<strong>2017</strong><br />

<strong>Blog</strong><br />

Chris Curtis<br />

H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Saturday, 11th March <strong>2017</strong> – Day 1<br />

I left Manchester Airport at 1.45pm for Las Palmas arriving at<br />

6.45pm<br />

The weather when we left Manchester was not great but our normal<br />

British weather to be greeted at Las Palmas by beautiful blue skies<br />

and very warm.<br />

We are stopping at the Marriott Hotel in Las Palmas, very nice<br />

hotel with 27 floors and on the roof top is the Swimming Pool<br />

with fantastic views.<br />

Now it’s early to bed as we start a busy two weeks on Sunday.<br />

My Sponsors Acknowledgement<br />

What I do need to say is a big thank you to all my sponsors that provided financial<br />

support and educational grants to allow me to visit the Head & Neck Cancer centres<br />

and patients across Spain and the US.<br />

Having sponsors and educational grants allows me to also highlight the great work the<br />

Swallows Head & Neck Cancer Support Charity carries out in the UK and spread the<br />

word worldwide.<br />

I am also making a documentary style film while on this journey. It will include the<br />

cancer patients/survivors, health professionals and an insight on the various cancer<br />

centres.<br />

A big thank you too Roger, Chris & Matt from SAMfilms who are following me to<br />

create the films.


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Sunday, 12 th <strong>2017</strong> – Day 2<br />

Today we went in to the local area and to the hospital we are visiting tomorrow.<br />

During the day, we have captured some great footage of Las Palmas and the external<br />

parts of the hospital.<br />

My first thoughts: The sun, heat and way of life must help patients in recovery, but I<br />

will know more on this when I meet with local patients tomorrow. The hospital is<br />

very impressive and tomorrow I get to see inside this impressive building.<br />

The local people here in Las Palmas are very friendly and nothing is too much trouble<br />

for them.<br />

Funniest part of the day was on arriving at the hospital the guys prepared to get the<br />

camera ready and just as they opened the camera case, a Las Palmas Wind blew the<br />

two very expensive memory cards out of the box and straight in to a drain channel,<br />

not to bad but the drain was covered in a Metal Grid...... I think Roger said, ‘Oh my<br />

God’ or something like that!<br />

The picture below shows the team hunting for the Cards (good job it had been a hot<br />

few days as there was no water in the drain), it was decided to chew gum, Roger<br />

volunteered and then lower a thin external drive with the gum placed on the bottom<br />

into the drain and hopefully recover the two VERY EXPENSIVE cards..... ‘Happy<br />

days it worked.<br />

More updates tomorrow.... Monday, 13 th March <strong>2017</strong><br />

Pictures from today.....<br />

Funniest Part of the Day...


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Monday, 13 th <strong>2017</strong> – Day 3<br />

I arrived at the Hospital Universitario de Gran Canaria Dr Negrín H&N Cancer<br />

Centre, Barranco de la Ballena, Las Palmas at 9.30am to meet Professor Lara (fellow<br />

H&N Cancer Survivor and Professor and Chair Clinical Oncology).<br />

The Tour<br />

Professor Lara took us all on a tour of the Head & Neck Cancer Department within<br />

the hospital. To see first-hand the most advanced equipment in the field of HnC<br />

treatment was unbelievable.<br />

The department had its own MRI & CT Scanners, Lenex Intensity Modulated<br />

Radiotherapy (IMRT) machine, plus a new addition will be the The Cyber Knife<br />

System is the first and only fully robotic radiation delivery system. It treats cancerous<br />

and non-cancerous tumours and other targets, precisely and accurately delivering<br />

radiation anywhere in the body.<br />

Another treatment machine is the Hyperthermia (also called thermal therapy or<br />

thermotherapy) is a type of cancer treatment in which body tissue is exposed to high<br />

temperatures. Research has shown that high temperatures can damage and kill cancer<br />

cells, usually with minimal injury to normal tissue<br />

To be fair the list goes on and on and I was blown away by how Professor Lara’s<br />

department was a ‘One Stop Clinic’ and the ‘Patient’ was at the heart of all this.<br />

Clearly Professor Lara after surviving HnC Cancer himself fully understands the<br />

patient’s journey and what is important to a patient and strives to offer the very best<br />

for all his patients.<br />

Robots on the corridors of the hospital...<br />

On walking around the hospital, you are met by Robots delivering items within the<br />

hospital, they even call their own lift to get to the floors within the hospital. It is truly<br />

amazing to see and they are accepted by the patients, families, visitors and health<br />

professionals and are integrated within the hospital. I asked, ‘How long have you had<br />

these Robots?’ expecting to be told it was the latest technology but how far from the<br />

truth, the answer was ’20 Years’ WOW...<br />

NHS needs more beds, or do they?<br />

The hospital is massive in size, so I asked, ‘How many beds in the hospital?’<br />

expecting a very high number and was told ‘Only 600 and looking to reduce these to<br />

500. Getting patients treated the same day & back home the day helps with a faster<br />

recovery’.<br />

I will update more after my final visit in Professor Lara’s department tomorrow.


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Details of Professor Pedro C Lara<br />

President Spanish Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (SEOR), Professor and Chair<br />

Clinical Oncology, Las Palmas University, Head Dept Radiation Oncology, Dr Negrin Las<br />

Palmas University Hospital, Director Canarian Institute for Cancer Research<br />

Academic and professional career<br />

In 1991, he moved to the Radiation Oncology Department of the University Hospital of Las<br />

Palmas, as Consultant Radiation Oncologist and Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology.<br />

He organised the Oncology teaching in the new Las Palmas University School of Medicine.<br />

In 1995, he joined the European Cancer Center Fellowship Programme, to develop a project<br />

on radiation oncology translational research in the Netherlands Cancer Institute in<br />

Amsterdam, under supervision of Prof. Harry Bartelink and Prof. Adrian Begg.<br />

Being appointed as Full Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Las Palmas<br />

(1996), he returned to the Canary Islands, where he established a new translational research<br />

group focused on biologically individualised radiotherapy and predictive assays of normal<br />

toxicity. He was also a driving force in the establishment of the Canarian Institute for Cancer<br />

Research (ICIC) in 2001. From 2011 to date, Prof. Lara is Director of the Canarian Institute<br />

for Cancer Research Since 2009 he is the Head of the Department of Radiation Oncology in<br />

Las Palmas University Hospital. This department is devoted to the comprehensive treatment<br />

of cancer patients, being very active in clinical oncology and medical treatments as well.<br />

In that aspect, his focuses of interest are breast/prostate cancer and radioimmunotherapy,<br />

conducting national and international clinical trials.<br />

In 2013, he obtained the national accreditation for Full Professor and Chair of Radiation<br />

Oncology and from that year, he is the Academic Chair of the Clinical Oncology and<br />

Haematology at the Las Palmas University Medical School.<br />

He is member of the editorial board of Radiation Oncology and of Reports of Practical<br />

Oncology and Radiotherapy, actively publishing and reviewing scientific articles for several<br />

journals and participating in national and international scientific, educational and research<br />

meetings.<br />

Professional Organisational Aspects<br />

He has been actively involved in professional societies as the Spanish Association for Cancer<br />

Research (ASEICA), European Association for Cancer Research (EACR) and Spanish<br />

Society for Radiation Oncology (SEOR), ESTRO and EORTC


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Pictures from today.....


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Wednesday, 14 th <strong>2017</strong> – Day 4<br />

This was my last day in Las Palmas with Professor Lara and his team and really sad to<br />

be leaving but excited about the next journey to New York and the visit at the famous<br />

‘Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre’.<br />

Today we finished filming the Robots, a nurse specialist who in the past has treated<br />

patients with a drug to protect the Saliva Glands so stopping Dry Mouth we also<br />

interviewed Professor Lara. He explained that he too was an H&N Cancer patient and<br />

said, ‘being an H&N cancer survivor really drives me to ensure the patient is the<br />

most important part and that his team remembers this”.<br />

Before I started this tour I truly thought I would not find a centre better than the<br />

Brighton Cancer Centre but Professor Lara is a true inspiration and his centre is now<br />

my bench mark for all others to be compared against “Platinum Rating”.<br />

Hospital Universitario de Gran Canaria Dr Negrín<br />

When I arrived at the hospital and after the tour of the H&N Cancer Department I<br />

truly thought the hospital was a Private Hospital and that’s why they have the very<br />

latest technology from a Scanner that link GPS with particles in the tumour so it can<br />

be tracked like going on a local road trip to the WOW Cyber Knife machine, ‘How<br />

wrong can you be as this is a PUBLIC HOSPITAL and open to 90% of the<br />

population’.<br />

NHS England would benefit by visiting this hospital and understand how they can do<br />

such great work and put the Patients Outcome First.<br />

The Robots<br />

I asked Professor Lara about job losses in the hospital by using ‘Robots’ and his reply<br />

was very interesting “We use robots to carry out the duties of moving items round the<br />

hospital and the people who would be pushing hospital trolleys are now used to deal<br />

with patient issues example at reception, walking around talking to patients these<br />

people are now are front line patient engagement staff”.<br />

Now we move on to New York to visit centres in the US.....


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Pictures from the day.....


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Thursday, 16 th <strong>2017</strong> – Day 5<br />

Today I met Dr Shah at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York, his<br />

attitude towards delivering the very best treatment to patients and returning them to a normal<br />

life post treatment is his paramount aim.<br />

About Dr Shah<br />

Dr Shah has special expertise in the surgical treatment of benign and malignant tumours in the<br />

head and neck area, including tumours of the mouth, pharynx, (throat), larynx, (voice box),<br />

sinuses, skull base, thyroid, parathyroid, and salivary glands as well as tumours of the skin,<br />

soft tissues, and bones.<br />

He served as Chief of the Head and Neck Service in the Department of Surgery from 1992 to<br />

2015 and led the Head and Neck Disease Management Team at Memorial Sloan Kettering<br />

Cancer Centre.<br />

This multidisciplinary team of more than 30 specialists includes head and neck surgeons,<br />

radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, endocrinologists, radiologists, maxillofacial<br />

prosthodontists, as well as plastic and reconstructive surgeons. Members of the team work<br />

together to develop treatment plans for each of our head and neck cancer patients that<br />

incorporate the latest technology and most advanced surgical techniques, including minimally<br />

invasive surgery, laser surgery, robotic surgery, and non-surgical cancer therapies.<br />

Dr Shah’s special interests are in the field of skull base surgery and surgery to preserve the<br />

function of the throat (pharynx) and the voice box (larynx). He has developed many new<br />

surgical procedures that enable surgeons to remove tumours from complex areas, such as the<br />

base of the skull. Because of these advances it is<br />

now feasible to preserve organ function and facial<br />

appearance to a far greater degree than was<br />

previously possible.<br />

Dr Shah is actively involved in training the next<br />

generation of head and neck cancer surgeons, and<br />

he and his colleagues have developed a surgical<br />

training program supported by the National Cancer<br />

Institute. This program draws talented surgeons from all over the world who travel to<br />

Memorial Sloan Kettering to learn the latest surgical techniques for the treatment of head and<br />

neck cancer.<br />

Both the following patients were treated by Dr Shah and his wonderful team.<br />

Patient Interview (Jim)<br />

WOW what a character, Jim is now 11 years a survivor and had a ‘total laryngectomy’<br />

during his interview he made us cry but more importantly he made us<br />

laugh so much with his New York sense of humour, an example he<br />

said, “On the 4 th July in New York they have a Sausage Eating<br />

competition and I have won it 3 years running” I replied, “but how,<br />

when you need to be careful eating?” “Easy, the sausages are the same<br />

dimension as the hole in my neck so I tie all the sausages on string then<br />

push them down and when I finish just pull them out”


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Jim openly admits his previous life style was a heavy smoker and drinker as he was a<br />

steel worker and with his Irish background as he said, “I was born with a beer in my<br />

hand” but now he has given up the drink and cigs and lives a healthy and better life<br />

style.<br />

He explained that Dr Shah will call him and ask him to talk to newly diagnosed<br />

patients who are struggling to come to terms with being told “you have cancer and<br />

your voice box will be removed”<br />

Jim spends a lot of time volunteering at the centre talking to patients at diagnoses,<br />

during and post treatment helping them come to terms with the cancer. His opening<br />

statement is “We all have a cross to bear in life and<br />

when your is too heavy to carry look around you and<br />

get everyone to throw there’s in a pile, look at these<br />

and you will always go and pick yours back up” How<br />

true is that as there is always someone else with a<br />

heavier cross!<br />

A funny Gentleman of New York<br />

Jim’s sense of humour, wonderful wit and<br />

outlook on life can only be an inspiration to<br />

other H&N cancer patients around the<br />

world. It was a privilege to meet such a<br />

gentle, kind and funny Gentleman of New<br />

York (God Bless America).<br />

Laryngectomy is the removal of the larynx and separation of the airway from the<br />

mouth, nose and esophagus. In a total laryngectomy, the entire larynx is removed<br />

and in a partial laryngectomy only a portion is taken out. The laryngectomee<br />

breathes through an opening in the neck known as a stoma.<br />

Patient Interview (Jessica)<br />

Firstly, I need to tell you a little history about this wonderful woman, before her diagnoses<br />

Jessica was an Actress, Singer, Song Writer and her career was taking off big style with parts<br />

on Broadway and in film.<br />

Jessica was born on September 3, 1982 in Livingston, New Jersey, USA. She is known for<br />

The Meat Puppet (2012), The Highly Observant Bill White (2011) and Alien Vs. Zombies<br />

(<strong>2017</strong>).<br />

Then came that moment that changes a life forever, “You have Cancer”<br />

Her first fear was its tongue cancer was there a possibility of losing her ability to speak<br />

clearly, which would prevent her from pursuing a career in acting and singing.<br />

Appearance and voice matter to nearly everyone, but perhaps most of all to someone<br />

dreaming of a life in the spotlight.


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Jessica said, “When I was first told, I cried a lot, it was like the air was sucked out of<br />

the room, I was inconsolable”.<br />

Even as she struggled to process the news, Jessica understood she had to act quickly. That<br />

evening, she told her husband, T.J., and family about her diagnosis. Amidst that chaos, you<br />

must climb out if it, she recalls. “I understood I had to start making calls and making things<br />

happen. I needed a plan of action”.<br />

Choosing the Right Surgeon<br />

She made appointments with surgeons at two hospitals, one near her home in Denville, New<br />

Jersey, and a second at Memorial Sloan Kettering, where she met the Chief of the Head and<br />

Neck Service, Jatin Shah.<br />

Dr Shah explained that she had squamous cell carcinoma, which arises on the surface of the<br />

tongue and is the most common type of oral cancer. Risk factors include smoking and longterm<br />

excessive alcohol consumption; Jessica, a lifeguard who teaches swimming at the<br />

YMCA, had neither of those.<br />

Dr Shah told her she needed surgery to remove the tumour, and along with it, a portion of the<br />

front of her tongue. He would also remove several lymph nodes in her neck to see if the<br />

cancer had spread.<br />

When Dr Shah explained his surgical technique, Jessica knew she had found the right<br />

surgeon for her.<br />

Dr Shah explained “The tongue is a very intricate and complex organ. The front part of the<br />

tongue is responsible for the articulation of speech, whereas the rear part of the tongue is for<br />

swallowing. How you remove the tumour and how you reconstruct the tip of the tongue is<br />

crucial to the retention and restoration of the clarity of speech.”<br />

What happens next you will need to wait for the film.......


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Friday, 17 th <strong>2017</strong> – Day 6<br />

Today was a rest day so spent the day filming round New York to capture St Patrick<br />

Day here in New York.


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

More pictures of the day....


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Throat Cancer can’t stop the ‘food of love’


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Saturday, 18 th <strong>2017</strong> – Day 7<br />

Today was my official day off and I took the opportunity to go on a sightseeing tour<br />

of New York.<br />

See photos by following this link:<br />

https://flic.kr/s/aHskSG4YkL


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Monday, 21 st March <strong>2017</strong> – Day 8<br />

Today we visited the Massachusetts General Hospital, Speech Language Pathology<br />

department.<br />

Tessa Goldsmith, Associate Director, Speech, Language, and<br />

Swallowing Disorders agreed to be interviewed and talk about<br />

the important role she and her wonderful team play within the<br />

HnC Patients Journey.<br />

Throat Cancer can’t stop the ‘food of love’<br />

Speech, Language, and Swallowing Disorders<br />

Tessa explained that The Mass General Department of Speech, Language, and Swallowing<br />

Disorders offers a complete continuum of care, including diagnosis and treatment, to<br />

patients of all ages with any type of communication or swallowing disorder.<br />

Her team of speech-language pathologists specialise in diagnosing and treating all<br />

communication and swallowing disorders in acute and outpatient populations, from newborns<br />

to adults.<br />

The team also offer a complete continuum of services including:<br />

• Prevention<br />

• Identification<br />

• Diagnosis<br />

• Consultation<br />

• Treatment<br />

• Referrals<br />

Tessa said, “The patient is at the heart of everything we do and my team will be involved<br />

with the patient from diagnoses, throughout treatment and beyond”.<br />

Quality of Life ‘Swallowing’<br />

Tessa believes that being able to communicate thoughts, feelings, needs and desires is a<br />

fundamental part of everyday life irrespective of age. When a person’s ability to speak,<br />

listen, read, or write is affected, daily living can be frustrating and isolating, affect<br />

socialisation, learning and relationships. Likewise, mealtimes represent an important social<br />

ritual that can be difficult and intimidating for those who are unable to swallow safely.<br />

Today was an inspirational interview and showed yet again another health professional that<br />

really cares about a patients Quality of Life.<br />

If you are a health professional, speech therapist or a patient you need to watch this<br />

interview, a must watch!


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Boston is Massachusetts’ capital and largest city. Founded in 1630, it’s one of the oldest<br />

cities in the U.S. The key role it played in the American Revolution is highlighted on the<br />

Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile walking route of historic sites that tells the story of the nation’s<br />

founding. One stop, former meeting house Faneuil Hall, is a popular marketplace.<br />

I would highly recommend you visit Boston if ever in the US.


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Tuesday, 21 st March <strong>2017</strong> – Day 9<br />

Today we travelled to the town of Lowell & the Lowell General Hospital Cancer<br />

Centre to film the area and external parts of this wonderful hospital.<br />

Quite different style to all the other hospitals<br />

but still very impressive.<br />

Looking forward to visiting the Cancer<br />

centre on Thursday & Friday.<br />

The Cancer Centre at Lowell General Hospital is committed to supporting the patients<br />

mental and physical health through every step of diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.<br />

Dedicated physicians and nurses to social workers and support groups, the Cancer<br />

Centre at Lowell General Hospital has several resources for the patient and family, all<br />

close to their home.<br />

Early Detection<br />

If cancer is detected, Lowell General Hospital has a multidisciplinary team and clinic<br />

dedicated to a coordinated, individualized treatment plan for you. Surgery, radiation<br />

oncology, medical oncology speech pathology, and nutrition all work together to<br />

design a plan for both cancer treatment and supportive care.<br />

Clinical Trials<br />

Through close partnerships with Boston-based hospitals and the National Cancer<br />

Institute, we can offer cancer clinical trials designed to identify safer and more<br />

effective approaches to prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment of your cancer.<br />

Project to help Cancer Patients ‘TeamWalk’<br />

Since it began in 2000, TeamWalk has raised more than 9 million dollars and has<br />

helped more than 24,000 people at the Cancer Centre at Lowell General and beyond.<br />

TeamWalk provides transportation to and from treatment, prescription medication not<br />

covered by insurance, living expenses, wigs, prosthetics, medical supplies, and a<br />

diverse array of support groups open to cancer patients and their families.<br />

Joining as a volunteer, or sponsor, you can truly make a difference when you join<br />

Lowell General Hospital's TeamWalk for CancerCare. For more information or to<br />

register for our <strong>2017</strong> event, visit www.teamwalk.org and join the fight!


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Good Old Fashion Town


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Wednesday, 22 nd March <strong>2017</strong> – Day 10<br />

Today we finished the interview with Tessa Goldsmith, talking about Feeding Peg<br />

and Tips to help with Swallowing.<br />

Feeding Tube ‘When & Why’<br />

When...<br />

Tessa explained that the feeding peg should only be used as a last result and not fitted<br />

as standard practice,<br />

Also, Swallowing excesses and continue to eat during and post treatment is the way<br />

forward as this helps to maintain muscle use.<br />

Why...<br />

A percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube is a plastic tube that is put into<br />

your stomach through your skin. PEG tubes are most often used to give you food or<br />

liquids if you are not able to eat or drink. Medical formula, medicines, and water can<br />

be given through a PEG tube.<br />

Warning<br />

You should seek immediate care if....<br />

• You start coughing or vomiting during or after a feeding.<br />

• You have severe abdominal pain.<br />

• Blood or tube feeding fluid leaks from the PEG tube site.<br />

• Your PEG tube is shorter than it was when it was put in.<br />

• Your PEG tube comes out.<br />

• Your mouth feels dry, your heart feels like it is beating too fast, or you feel<br />

weak.<br />

You should contact your Hospital if....<br />

• You have nausea, diarrhoea, or abdominal bloating or discomfort.<br />

• You have stomach pain after each feeding or when you move around.<br />

• You have discomfort or pain around your PEG tube site.<br />

• The skin around your PEG tube is red, swollen, or draining pus.<br />

• Weigh less than your health plan.<br />

• Your PEG tube is longer than it was when it was put in.<br />

• You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.<br />

Tessa Kitchen


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Tessa spoke about her Kitchen Tips for eating while having<br />

‘Swallowing Issues’ and you need to watch the film for her fantastic<br />

suggestions.<br />

One very simple suggestion was if you can’t eat bread ‘try toast as it opens the bread<br />

pockets and allows the liquid in your mouth to help with swallowing’ Tessa said ‘food<br />

in your kitchen needs to be light and mover fast in the mouth, crispy & crunchy<br />

absorbs liquid easy but mash potatoes stay sticky and is hard to swallow’<br />

Set small steps and goals that are achievable and recognise your success. More from<br />

the Tessa Kitchen in the interview on film.<br />

Massachusetts General Hospital & Cancer Centre<br />

Guided by the needs of our patients and their families, Massachusetts General<br />

Hospital aims to deliver the very best health care in a safe, compassionate<br />

environment; to advance that care through innovative research and education, and to<br />

improve the health and well-being of the diverse communities we serve.<br />

Awards:


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Bar Advertising


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Thursday & Friday, 24 th , 25 th March <strong>2017</strong> – Day 11/12<br />

The Cancer Centre at Lowell General Hospital is committed to<br />

supporting mental and physical health through every step of<br />

diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. From dedicated physicians<br />

and nurses to social workers and support groups, the Cancer<br />

Centre at Lowell General Hospital has several resources for<br />

patients and the family, all close to home.<br />

We met Matthew Katz who is the Medical Director of Radiation Oncology at<br />

Lowell General Hospital and a partner in Radiation Oncology Associates, PA.<br />

He is former Chair of the Communications Committee for the American<br />

Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and External Advisory Board<br />

member for Mayo Clinic Centre for Social Media. He serves on ASTRO's<br />

Education Committee and is incoming chair of Massachusetts Medical<br />

Society's Communications Committee. His areas of prime interest are patient<br />

education and health empowerment.<br />

As we arrived at the main entrance and parked the car to off load, the valet service<br />

approached the car and offered to park the car, we later realised this is offered to all<br />

patients and family who arrive at the cancer centre.<br />

We then made our way in to be greeted by William Courtney, Senior Media Relations<br />

Specialist who instantly made us feel welcomed to this wonderful place. William then<br />

took us all through to the Cancer Centre to be greeted by a group of ladies Welcoming<br />

us all to the centre.<br />

My first thoughts were WOW what a greeting and what lovely people, and it can’t get<br />

better – how wrong I was!!!!<br />

The day started at 10am with a tour of the Head & Neck department but this was no<br />

normal tour as ‘EVERYONE’ in the team came to greet us and make us feel very<br />

special. Patients and all the staff had massive SMILES and were so friendly.<br />

It is impossible to list everyone who was made available to us for filming but it<br />

included Patients, Surgeons, Doctors, Dentists, Speech & Nutrition’s, Language<br />

Therapists, Nurses, Radiologist, and so many more in fact I think if we wanted to talk<br />

to the cleaner that would not have been a problem. THANK YOU to all the great<br />

TEAM within this wonderful department.<br />

Highlights….<br />

1. Filming three great patient/survivors (Jack, Tom & Donna) was my best<br />

highlight of the two days and to share our stories was something very special<br />

and you must watch the film to hear more of the stories. To hear that they<br />

would now like to create a Swallows Support Group in the Cancer Centre to<br />

help other H&N patients because of the work I am doing was a great honour,<br />

and I pledged to help them achieve this.


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

2. Meeting the wonderful Komal in Radiotherapy room and<br />

listening to her explain how she explains to patients about the<br />

‘Mask Fitting Planning’ was very special and best I have ever<br />

heard in 5 years. Komal truly is a credit to her profession and<br />

has a passion to ensure the very best Patient Experience.<br />

Komal has a SMILE that should be on a Dental Advert and<br />

wold make any patient instantly feel at ease.<br />

3. Interviews with Matthew Katz, Dr Bill O’Mara, Dr. Louis Stylos &<br />

Mary Terkoski, DDS Supervising Dentist were all very special and<br />

the passion these people must ensure the Patient is at the heart of all<br />

the decisions came across in the bucket full and these are interviews<br />

not to be missed.<br />

4. We meet a real gentleman Dr Arthur Lauretano, Otolaryngologist,<br />

Manchester United supporter, Guitarist and a real funny man yet so<br />

professional now that is a special combination and I can only imagine<br />

that patients must feel so relaxed and special being looked after by Dr<br />

Arthur Lauretano. (What is Otolaryngologists a physician trained in<br />

the medical and surgical management and treatment of patients with diseases<br />

and disorders of the ear, nose, throat (ENT), and related structures of the<br />

head and neck)<br />

5. The first thing you see when arriving at the main reception is the<br />

US Famous ‘Dunkin Donuts’ and yes<br />

we all had a coffee and a<br />

donut – every hospital should have<br />

these.<br />

6. The Cancer Centre has a Translation department so no one<br />

needs to be isolated because they can’t communicate. On the wall of the main<br />

waiting area there was a ‘framed posted’ clearly showing all the languages<br />

available.<br />

7. In the reception area, they have a Jigsaw for patients to try and complete and<br />

was told “the Jigsaw could take weeks to<br />

complete and patients like to all help<br />

complete it” such a simple idea to help<br />

patients relax.<br />

Our very last interview was with Claudia Antolini,<br />

Operation Director, now I know where all the team<br />

get the drive from as this lady is so full of passion to ensure the Patient comes first.<br />

As a forma nurse and over 40 years’ experience Claudia uses all this knowledge to<br />

drive her Vision for Patient Engagement and better patient outcomes. I personally<br />

would like to thank you for all the great work you have done and continue to do.


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

This blog could just go on and on but I need to keep some special parts for the films<br />

as such I will share some great photos.<br />

Big Thank You<br />

One very special Thank You must go to William Courtney who supported and helped<br />

us throughout the two days,<br />

William organised rooms, patients and all the health team,<br />

ensured everybody was aware of what we were doing.<br />

These tasks could not have been easy but he exceeded in<br />

all areas and with a happy, positive attitude and with a<br />

massive Smile.<br />

At lunch, he arranged for food to be delivered, drinks throughout the day we could not<br />

have had a better host.<br />

My team would like to say, ‘Thank You’ you are a true gentleman and we could not<br />

have expected to have been looked after so well.<br />

More will be in the two films...............


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Patients.....


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Saturday, 25 th March <strong>2017</strong> – Review Day<br />

We left the UK on Saturday, 11 th March to travel to Las Palmas and visit the ‘Hospital<br />

Universitario de Gran Canaria Dr Negrín’ Professor Pedro C Lara and his team.<br />

Head & Neck Cancer Centres Visited in 12 days<br />

Hospital Universitario de Gran Canaria Dr Negrín<br />

Barranco de la Ballena, s/n, 35010 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Las Palmas, Spain<br />

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre<br />

https://www.mskcc.org/locations/memorial-hospital<br />

Massachusetts General Hospital ‘Department of Speech, Language and<br />

Swallowing Disorders’<br />

http://www.massgeneral.org/speech/<br />

Lowell General Hospital ‘Cancer Centre’<br />

https://www.lowellgeneral.org/care-and-services/cancer-center/cancer-center<br />

Quote of the trip, I truly believe that all the above centres have this vision in one form<br />

or another.<br />

“Passion in wanting to drive patient care through the eyes of not only a quality<br />

medical team but that of the main focus ... ‘the patient’. We believe in Patients First<br />

in everything we do. That takes a team to accomplish. I am proud to work with the<br />

Best Team. I learn something new every day from someone I cross paths with. I look<br />

forward to continuing to support quality care and focus on Head and Neck Cancer,<br />

growing a patient support group for past, present and future patients here in the<br />

Lowell and the surrounding area.” Claudia Antolini, Operation Director<br />

MY BLOG #HnCTour<strong>2017</strong><br />

My <strong>Blog</strong> talks more about each visit, follow the link below to read more.<br />

<strong>Blog</strong> Link: http://www.theswallows.org.uk/more/blog-chris-hits-road/<br />

I met with the following people all with a passion and drive to ensure past, present<br />

and future patients are at the centre of ‘Patient First’.<br />

Patients (Current & Survivors) : 8<br />

Health Professionals : 26<br />

Range from Pharmacists, Oncologists, Nurses, Radiation Oncologist, Nutrition,<br />

Speech & Language Therapist, Professors, Doctors, Surgeons, Receptionists,<br />

Others : 7<br />

Valet Parking, Receptionists, Catering Assistants, Dunkin Donut Helper


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Fund Raising<br />

Also during the trip, we have raised funds to help drive Head & Neck Cancer support<br />

within the Cancer Centres.<br />

Spain : 700 Euros<br />

USA : 1,900 Dollars<br />

Each Cancer Centre participant was given the offer of receiving a fee for their<br />

contribution and they could either retain for personal use or donate towards the<br />

development of Head & Neck Cancer Patient Support within their centre.<br />

Everyone donated the money back to the centre as they believe in H&N Patient<br />

Support’.<br />

Thank You<br />

I must use this section to formally thank people who have collaborated to make this<br />

fantastic venture happen.<br />

My Sponsors who funded the Tour, they are not wanting to be listed because this was<br />

about Education, Awareness and Support and not Publicity, shows companies do<br />

great things and it is not always about a monetary return on investment sometimes the<br />

greater reward is doing something that can ‘Make a Difference for the<br />

Patient/Survivor’<br />

SAMfilms from Blackpool, UK who have followed me throughout this<br />

#HnCTour<strong>2017</strong> and been by my side everyday capturing some great film footage.<br />

SAMfilms crew led by Roger (Film Director) and Chris<br />

(Cameraman and Screen setting) finally the youngest member<br />

Matt on Sound. Each of them have a skill and when they<br />

come together WOW what a team. Can’t wait to see the final<br />

films (good luck on the editing as every interview was<br />

phenomenal).<br />

Some days we were up at 7am and filming by 8,30am and not finishing till after 6pm.<br />

On one day, we started at 10am and finished at 5pm filming some 9 interviews plus<br />

filming a mock up HnC Clinic. The whole team worked hard and without them we<br />

could not have captured so much film footage that over the coming months and years<br />

will help so many people.<br />

Picture above is the team setting up an interview scene and below is Roger working<br />

hard researching!


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Translator<br />

In Spain, we needed a translator and Arantxa Iriarte joined the team and helped with<br />

the communication difficulty and was such an important member while in Spain and<br />

now her hard work starts as the film footage needs to be transcribed to English so the<br />

Film Team can create the film for Spain.<br />

Arantxa has become a friend and such an important member of the #HnCTour<strong>2017</strong><br />

Team and I look forward to talking to her, the Customer Service Team when back in<br />

the UK.<br />

Medical Advisors<br />

I was so lucky that the two main sponsors sent out their Medical Advisors ensuring<br />

we captured the correct content and the right questions were asked and when Health<br />

Professionals spoke at a high level myself and the film crew understood the answers.<br />

Many thanks to Henno Welgemoed (Spain) & Claire Burke (USA).<br />

Again, Henno & Claire became a valuable member of the #HnCTour<strong>2017</strong> Team and<br />

without them we would have struggled to talk at the same level as the high-profile<br />

health professionals we met.<br />

Mrs Organiser (mum)<br />

SAMfilms and myself was so happy to have Sharon Thomas-Jones in<br />

the team as she ensured the tight film time table schedule was not<br />

forgotten, we were where we needed to be at the right times, drove the<br />

rental car in the US with no issues, booked transport when needed, had<br />

medication for bad heads when needed, made us all eat three good<br />

meals and drink lots of water throughout the day, acted as an advisor and<br />

communicator in the Cancer Centres.<br />

Sharon kept us four guys in order and became a friend to us all, we were all sad when<br />

she left us a day early.<br />

#HnCTour<strong>2017</strong> Trip Planner<br />

Katie Clayton was the person who took my Journey Tour Plan and booked all the<br />

Flights, Train, Hotel, Car Hire, and WOW what a fantastic job Katie done.<br />

The trip came with many challenges but Katie made it all happen and with what<br />

seemed to be such ease.<br />

Katie, you are a star and well done in getting over all the logistical challenges and<br />

making it all run so smoothly, not even a Snow Blizzard stopped us as when we<br />

arrived in the US Katie had arranged for the Sun to come out.


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

The Biggest Thank You<br />

Must go to all the Patients, Survivors and Cancer Centres who allowed us to enter<br />

their domain and interrupt their busy day.<br />

Everyone we met made the team and myself so welcomed and went out of their way<br />

to help us capture film footage we needed to create a minimum of two potential Head<br />

& Neck Films.<br />

When you meet inspirational people, it makes me feel so honoured to be a Cancer<br />

Survivor and on this unbelievable ‘Patients Journey’.<br />

“Cancer is a long and hard journey, but you don’t have to walk the road alone. You will meet<br />

many good people who are there to help and guide you on the road. They will find you when<br />

you are least expecting it!”<br />

Chris Curtis, cancer survivor<br />

The Films<br />

The films are due to be Premiered at the Head & Neck Conference in Madrid, Spain<br />

in June and will be on Social Media by Friday, 16 th June <strong>2017</strong> so get this date in your<br />

<strong>Diary</strong>.<br />

10 th June <strong>2017</strong><br />

Pictures from the #HnCTour<strong>2017</strong> follow the link:<br />

http://www.theswallows.org.uk/more/blog-chris-hits-road/


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Biographies<br />

Just a few of the people I met on this fantastic #HnCTour<strong>2017</strong>. I have listed in order<br />

of my visits.<br />

BIOGRAPHY<br />

H&N Cancer Survivor<br />

Prof. Pedro Carlos Lara Jimenez<br />

Radiation Oncologist, Head of Department<br />

Hospital Universitario de Gran Canaria<br />

Pedro C Lara<br />

President Spanish Society for Radiotherapy and<br />

Oncology (SEOR)<br />

Professor and Chair Clinical Oncology, Las Palmas<br />

University<br />

Head Dept Radiation Oncology, Dr Negrin Las Palmas<br />

University Hospital<br />

Director Canarian Institute for Cancer Research<br />

Telf: +34928450284<br />

Fax:+34928449127<br />

plara@dcc.ulpgc.es<br />

Address: Barranco de la Ballena s/n 35019, Las Palmas<br />

GC, Spain<br />

Education<br />

Pedro Lara was born and raised in Granada, Spain. He obtained his Medical Degree in 1985<br />

at the University of Granada. During his medical studies, he worked as research student in the<br />

Oncology Department of the Granada University Hospital (1983).<br />

He continued this commitment as a research fellow from 1985 to 1987, when he started his<br />

training in Radiation Oncology. The latter included visiting stages at the Instituto de Tumori<br />

de Milano (1987), the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston (1988) and the Academisch<br />

edisch Centrum in Amsterdam (1990). During this period, he continued his research projects<br />

btaining the PhD degree at the University of Granada in 1988.<br />

Academic and professional career<br />

In 1991, he moved to the Radiation Oncology Department of the University Hospital of Las<br />

Palmas, as Consultant Radiation Oncologist and Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology.<br />

He organised the Oncology teaching in the new Las Palmas University School of Medicine.<br />

In 1995, he joined the European Cancer Center Fellowship Programme, to develop a project<br />

on radiation oncology translational research in the Netherlands Cancer Institute in<br />

Amsterdam, under supervision of Prof. Harry Bartelink and Prof. Adrian Begg.<br />

Being appointed as Full Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Las Palmas<br />

(1996), he returned to the Canary Islands, where he established a new translational research<br />

group focused on biologically individualised radiotherapy and predictive assays of normal<br />

toxicity. He was also a driving force in the establishment of the Canarian Institute for Cancer<br />

Research (ICIC) in 2001. From 2011 to date, Prof. Lara is Director of the Canarian Institute<br />

for Cancer Research Since 2009 he is the Head of the Department of Radiation Oncology in<br />

Las Palmas University Hospital. This department is devoted to the comprehensive treatment<br />

of cancer patients, being very active in clinical oncology and medical treatments as well.


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

In that aspect, his focuses of interest are breast/prostate cancer and radioimmunotherapy,<br />

conducting national and international clinical trials.<br />

In 2013, he obtained the national accreditation for Full Professor and Chair of Radiation<br />

Oncology and from that year, he is the Academic Chair of the Clinical Oncology and<br />

Haematology at the Las Palmas University Medical School.<br />

He is member of the editorial board of Radiation Oncology and of Reports of Practical<br />

Oncology and Radiotherapy, actively publishing and reviewing scientific articles for several<br />

journals and participating in national and international scientific, educational and research<br />

meetings.<br />

Professional Organisational Aspects<br />

He has been actively involved in professional societies as the Spanish Association for Cancer<br />

Research (ASEICA), European Association for Cancer Research (EACR) and Spanish<br />

Society for Radiation Oncology (SEOR), ESTRO and EORTC<br />

Professional membership & associations:<br />

2008-12: ASEICA (Spanish Assoc Cancer Research) Board of Directors<br />

2009-to date: EACR Member<br />

2012 ESTR0 31 Scientific Programme Committee Member<br />

2012 ESTR0 31 Scientific Advisory Group Radiobiology Member<br />

2012 ESTRO 31 National Organising Committee Member<br />

2013 ESTRO Teaching Course On Prostate Cancer Guest Lecturer<br />

2013-2015: SEOR (Spanish Society Radiation Oncology) President-Elect<br />

2013-to date: EORTC Radiation Oncology, Gynecology, Urology Groups Member<br />

2014 EORTC GYN Group Meeting Las Palmas Local Organizer<br />

2014-to date ESTRO Mobility Grants – TTG Commission<br />

2015 ESTRO Forum Scientific Advisory Group Clinical Meeting Member<br />

2015 ESTRO Forum National Organising Committee Member<br />

2015 ECCO 18 Expert Pannel Scientific Track Programme Member<br />

2015 ESTRO Delegate for IAEA ICARO - 3 meeting.<br />

2015 EORTC ROG Group Meeting Las Palmas Local Organizer<br />

2015-to date: ESTRO Clinical Committee Member<br />

2015-17 SEOR (Spanish Society of Radiation Oncology) President<br />

2016 ISIORT Member<br />

2016 ESTRO 35 Scientific Advisory Board for the Clinical Member<br />

Personal life<br />

Pedro and his wife Rosa live in Las Palmas and have two children. Besides his passion for<br />

oncology, he likes travelling with friends and skiing nearby his home town of Granada. He<br />

created and serves as volunteer for the ‘Canarias Against Cancer’ Programme, which is a nonprofit<br />

organization devoted to improving knowledge about cancer causes and prevention in<br />

the general population.<br />

Personal statement<br />

Clinical/radiation oncologists play a central role in the comprehensive oncology treatment.<br />

Nevertheless, our contribution is frequently overlooked by health providers and policymakers.<br />

Evidence - based data are sorely needed to provide sound and convincing data and<br />

information that ensure that cancer patients get access to the optimal level of radiation<br />

therapy. But evidence is no longer about technological advances alone. “Times are<br />

Changing”, with Individualization, biologically conformed or targeted treatments being the<br />

new terms of oncology today. The biologically oriented clinical radiation research also relates<br />

to the integration of drugs as an essential component of successful clinic al/radiation oncology<br />

treatments.


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

ESTRO can play an essential role in facilitating research towards individualised radiation<br />

therapy, among others, by encouraging its’ members to be fully aware of our own potential,<br />

recognizing ourselves as oncologists who treat cancer patients with radiation, also integrated<br />

with other therapies, to provide a “state of the art” care to those who eagerly need it, and this<br />

during their complete clinical course.<br />

Spanish Association of Radiotherapy and Oncology (SEOR)


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Tania Estapé Madinabeitia<br />

Clinical Psychologist and Psychologist<br />

E-Health, (Chair 2015 – <strong>2017</strong>) – Spain<br />

Clinical Psychologist and Psychologist<br />

Barcelona Area, Spain<br />

Healthcare and Hospitality , FEFOC Foundation<br />

Current: University of Barcelona, Universitat Oberta de<br />

Catalunya<br />

Previous: Hospital Clínico, Barcelona<br />

Education: Universitat Oberta de Catalunya<br />

Individual and group psychotherapy to cancer patients and relatives, telephone and online<br />

assistance. Coordination of courses and workshops for patients and public education on issues<br />

related to cancer<br />

Abstract<br />

In love with psychology, although it hurts<br />

Experience<br />

• Director of Psycho-Oncology<br />

FEFOC Foundation<br />

April 1996 - present (20 years 11 months)<br />

Individual and group psychotherapy to cancer patients and relatives, telephone and<br />

online assistance. Coordination of courses and workshops for patients and public<br />

education on issues related to cancer<br />

• Co-director<br />

University of Barcelona<br />

October 2006 - present (10 years 5 months)<br />

Elaboration and preparation of the teaching program, tutoring students and teaching<br />

activity<br />

Connections<br />

Universitat Oberta de Catalunya<br />

- actuality (14 years 1 month)<br />

Consultant of the Studies of Psychology<br />

Assistant Professor<br />

Fundació Universitària del Bages (FUB)<br />

September 2010 - current affairs (6 years 6 months)<br />

Collaborating Professor at the University School of Health Sciences<br />

Fellowship<br />

Hospital Clínico, Barcelona<br />

May 1992 - March 1999 (6 years 11 months)<br />

Research Fellow in Psycho-Oncology Projects<br />

Languages<br />

• Catalan Spanish<br />

Bilingual or native competence Bilingual or native competence<br />

• Spanish English<br />

Bilingual or native competence Full professional competence<br />

• French<br />

Basic Competence


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

About IPOS<br />

Founded in 1984, the International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS)<br />

was created to foster international multidisciplinary<br />

communication about clinical, educational and research issues<br />

that relate to the subspecialty of psycho-oncology and two<br />

primary psychosocial dimensions of cancer:<br />

1. Response of patients, families and staff to cancer and its<br />

treatment at all stages;<br />

2. Psychological, social, and behavioural factors that influence tumour progression and<br />

survival<br />

http://ipos-society.org<br />

Jatin P. Shah, MD, FACS<br />

Surgeon<br />

Elliot W. Strong Chair in Head and Neck Oncology<br />

About Me<br />

Dr. Shah has special expertise in the surgical treatment of<br />

benign and malignant tumours in the head and neck area,<br />

including tumours of the mouth, pharynx, (throat), larynx,<br />

(voice box), sinuses, skull base, thyroid, parathyroid, and<br />

salivary glands as well as tumours of the skin, soft tissues, and bones.<br />

He served as Chief of the Head and Neck Service in the Department of Surgery from 1992 to<br />

2015 and led the Head and Neck Disease Management Team at Memorial Sloan Kettering<br />

Cancer Centre.<br />

This multidisciplinary team of more than 30 specialists includes head and neck surgeons,<br />

radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, endocrinologists, radiologists, maxillofacial<br />

prosthodontists, as well as plastic and reconstructive surgeons. Members of the team work<br />

together to develop treatment plans for each of our head and neck cancer patients that<br />

incorporate the latest technology and most advanced surgical techniques, including minimally<br />

invasive surgery, laser surgery, robotic surgery, and non-surgical cancer therapies.<br />

Dr Shah’s special interests are in the field of skull base surgery and surgery to preserve the<br />

function of the throat (pharynx) and the voice box (larynx). He has developed many new<br />

surgical procedures that enable surgeons to remove tumours from complex areas, such as the<br />

base of the skull. Because of these advances it is now feasible to preserve organ function and<br />

facial appearance to a far greater degree than was previously possible.<br />

Dr Shah is actively involved in training the next generation of head and neck cancer surgeons,<br />

and he and his colleagues have developed a surgical training program supported by the<br />

National Cancer Institute. This program draws talented surgeons from all over the world who<br />

travel to Memorial Sloan Kettering to learn the latest surgical techniques for the treatment of<br />

head and neck cancer.<br />

Over the years, he has written six books in the field of head and neck cancer and has<br />

published nearly 400 scientific articles. (For a full listing of his publications, click on the icon<br />

at the right.) His textbook of head and neck surgery and oncology has won several awards and<br />

has been named the “Best Book in the Specialty” in the past five years by the University of<br />

London.


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Dr Shah has lectured extensively, both nationally and internationally and serves on the<br />

editorial boards of 12 scientific journals. He is professor of surgery at the Weill Cornell<br />

Medical College and holds the Elliot W. Strong Chair in Head and Neck Oncology at<br />

Memorial Sloan Kettering.<br />

He has been listed in “Best Doctors in America” directories continuously for the past 20<br />

years. In addition to his clinical and research activities at Memorial Sloan Kettering, Dr Shah<br />

is actively involved in head and neck oncology both nationally and internationally. He has<br />

served as president of the Society of Head and Neck Surgeons, the North American Skull<br />

Base Society, the New York Head and Neck Society, the New York Cancer Society, and the<br />

International Academy of Oral Oncology. He founded the International Federation of Head<br />

and Neck Oncologic Societies and serves as its Chief Executive Officer. Over the years, he<br />

has also served in varying capacities on the American Board of Surgery, the Commission on<br />

Cancer of the American College of Surgeons, and the Advanced Training Council for Head<br />

and Neck Surgery.<br />

His expertise in the specialty of head and neck surgery has been recognized with honorary<br />

fellowships from the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of London, Edinburgh, and Australia, and<br />

honorary PhD degrees from the University of Athens and the Catholic University of Leuven<br />

in Belgium. He is an honorary member of specialty medical societies in Australia and New<br />

Zealand, Philippines, Korea, India, Belgium, Israel, South Africa, Brazil, and Peru. He has<br />

been honoured by the establishment of an endowed chair in his name at Memorial Sloan<br />

Kettering.<br />

Clinical Expertise: Head and Neck Surgery for Tumours of the Mouth; Pharynx (Throat);<br />

Larynx (Voice Box); Esophagus; Thyroid Gland; Parathyroid Gland; Parotid and Other<br />

Salivary Glands; Soft Tissue Tumours; Bone Tumours; Tumours of the Dentialveolar<br />

Structures, Nasal Cavity and Sinuses, Base of the Skull, Ear Canal and Temporal Bone,<br />

Nerves and Blood Vessels of the Neck; Skin Cancers; Melanoma<br />

Languages Spoken: English<br />

Education: MD, Medical College, University of Baroda (India)<br />

Residencies: New York Infirmary<br />

Fellowships: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre<br />

Board Certifications: Surgery<br />

Publications<br />

Books<br />

Jatin Shah’s Head and Neck Surgery and Oncology. 4th ed. Shah JP, Patel SG, Singh B, eds.<br />

Philadelphia: Elsevier; 2012.<br />

Oral Cancer. Shah JP, Johnson NW, Batsakis JG, eds. London: Martin Dunitz; 2003<br />

Cancer of the Head and Neck. Shah JP, ed. Toronto: BC Decker; 2001.<br />

Essentials of Head and Neck Oncology. Close LG, Larson DL, Shah JP, eds. New York:<br />

Thieme; 1998.


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Tessa Goldsmith, MS, CCC-SLP,<br />

BRS-S<br />

Speech Language Pathology<br />

Mass General Hospital<br />

University of the Witwatersrand<br />

Experience<br />

Associate Director, Speech, Language, and Swallowing Disorders<br />

Massachusetts General Hospital<br />

Education<br />

University of the Witwatersrand<br />

Degree Name Master of Arts (MA)<br />

Field Of Study Speech Pathology<br />

Tessa Goldsmith, MS, CCC-SLP, BRS-S<br />

Caregiver | 2009<br />

“I received fantastic treatment from all of the staff at the Mass General Cancer Centre and the<br />

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary; but I am particularly grateful for the service and support I<br />

received from Tessa Goldsmith. Her excellent clinical care enabled me to quickly improve my<br />

speech and swallowing following surgery and treatment. I attribute much of my quick recovery<br />

to her attentive care and creative solutions.<br />

Tessa also took the time to listen to me and help me in all aspects of my cancer treatment,<br />

which is a bewildering, complicated and terrifying prospect for most patients. A patient must<br />

deal with multiple doctors and care providers and choose among frequently conflicting<br />

treatment options. Tessa helped me wade through this complexity, understand my options, and<br />

make sound decisions.<br />

These activities went well beyond Tessa’s job description, yet she happily volunteered her<br />

support. I thank her for all she did to help me get better faster and ease my way to recovery.”


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Twitter @subatomicdoc.<br />

Matthew S. Katz, MD<br />

Is the Medical Director of Radiation Oncology at Lowell General<br />

Hospital and a partner in Radiation Oncology Associates, PA. He<br />

is former Chair of the Communications Committee for the<br />

American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and<br />

External Advisory Board member for Mayo Clinic Center for<br />

Social Media. He serves on ASCO's Social Media Working<br />

Group, ASTRO's Education Committee, and Massachusetts<br />

Medical Society's Communications Committee. His areas of<br />

prime interest are patient education and health empowerment.<br />

Bio<br />

Matthew Katz received his Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Northwestern University<br />

in 1992 and graduated from the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1998. During<br />

medical school, he also completed a fellowship in pathology.<br />

Dr Katz completed his internship in internal medicine at Evanston Hospital in 1999. He<br />

trained in residency at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, completing his<br />

training in 2003. During internship and residency, he received several awards for patient care<br />

and research. He developed expertise in the use of newer technologies such as intensity<br />

modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) to improve the accuracy and safety of radiation therapy.<br />

From 2003-2004, Dr Katz was on staff at the Massachusetts General Hospital in the<br />

Department of Radiation Oncology, where he specialized in breast cancer.<br />

Since joining Radiation Oncology Associates, he remained involved in teaching and research<br />

at Harvard Medical School until 2009. He created a web-based tool for prostate cancer, CaP<br />

Calculator, to help promote shared decision-making between patients and prostate cancer<br />

specialists. He currently serves as chief of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Saints<br />

Medical Center. He also serves as the Chair of the Communications Committee for ASTRO.<br />

"Community medicine offers me the opportunity to spend more time with my patients and to<br />

make quality cancer care available closer to home. It is a privilege to help my patients and<br />

their loved ones with the medical and personal challenges of a cancer diagnosis."<br />

Lowell General Hospital<br />

296 Varnum Avenue<br />

Lowell, MA 01854<br />

Telephone: (978) 937-6274<br />

Link: http://www.roa-ne.com/staff/dr-matthew-katz-md.php<br />

Website: http://www.lowellgeneral.org/cancer (Medical Director of Radiation Oncology)<br />

Twitter: @subatomicdoc


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Arthur M. Lauretano, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.S.<br />

The Medical Director of the Lowell General Hospital<br />

Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Center, and the<br />

Medical Director for Inpatient Specialty Services at Lowell<br />

General Hospital.<br />

Board-certified otolaryngologist/head and neck surgeon with a<br />

primary interest in head and neck neoplasms, thyroid and<br />

parathyroid disease, laryngology, and robotic surgery.<br />

Clinical Assistant Professor at Boston University School of<br />

Medicine and a Clinical Instructor at Harvard Medical School.<br />

Clinical Instructor at Tufts University School of Medicine.<br />

Practices at Massachusetts Ear, Nose, and Throat Associates in Chelmsford, Massachusetts<br />

and operates primarily at Lowell General Hospital.<br />

He also operates and teaches residents and medical students at Lahey Hospital and Medical<br />

Center, where he is a member of the otolaryngology staff, and Massachusetts Eye and Ear<br />

Infirmary, where he is an associate member of the Head and Neck Oncology team.<br />

Dr Lauretano received a Master of Science in Health Informatics and Management in 2015<br />

from the University of Massachusetts Lowell in 2015 and subsequently became boardcertified<br />

in Clinical Informatics from the American Board of Preventive Medicine. He is the<br />

author of Do the Right Thing: A Surgeon’s Approach to Life, and writes a blog on<br />

www.drarthurlauretano.com. He is involved in community out-reach including head and<br />

neck cancer screenings as well as non-medical endeavours, including the Music and Youth.<br />

Dr Lauretano grew up in Medford, Massachusetts. He graduated Boston University’s Six-<br />

Year Medical Program Summa Cum Laude, with a BA in Medical Sciences and an MD. He<br />

was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha, the Medical Honor Society. He was awarded the<br />

Dean Eleanor Tyler Award (Top Six-year Medical Student), Dora Savenor Memorial Prize<br />

for Excellence in Surgery, and Internal Medicine Award. After completing medical school, Dr<br />

Lauretano completed his general surgical internship at Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital, where<br />

he received the Critical Care Award. He then entered and completed his residency in<br />

Otolaryngology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary/Harvard Medical School, finishing in<br />

1993. He practiced at the Joint Center for Otolaryngology from 1993 to 1996, where he was<br />

on staff at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Beth Israel Hospital, The Children’s Hospital of<br />

Boston, and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. In January 1997, Dr Lauretano moved his<br />

practice to the Greater Lowell Area at Mass. ENT Associates. He has been President of the<br />

Medical Staff at Lowell General Hospital prior to his current role as Medical Director of<br />

Inpatient Specialty Services. He continues to teach at Harvard Medical School and at Tufts<br />

Medical School. Outside of medicine Dr Lauretano enjoys spending time with his family,<br />

playing and coaching soccer, and playing guitar professionally, both live and in studio.<br />

Plus, the important fact, Dr Laurentano is a Manchester United supporter.


Chris Curtis, H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

Chris Curtis<br />

H&N Cancer Survivor & World Patient Ambassador<br />

E: chris@ccconsultancy.uk.com<br />

M: 07779 169 833<br />

W: www.yourcancerjourney.org.uk<br />

Patient Book Link: http://www.yourcancerjourney.org.uk/patients-book<br />

H&N Cancer Patient Book: Follow the link to read the book online:<br />

https://www.yumpu.com/xx/embed/view/JeadszUChi5SILmQ

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