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World leading pathologist documents his own cancer journey

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23rd June, 2023

Professor Richard Scolyer AO’s career has been dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. Now he’s sharing with the world his own cancer journey after being diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour.

In late May 2023, Pro­fes­sor Richard Scoly­er was being laud­ed by col­leagues around the world. He had just received the Dis­tin­guished Pathol­o­gist Medal from the Aus­tralasian Divi­sion Inter­na­tion­al Acad­e­my of Pathol­o­gy (IAP).

The medal is award­ed each year to a pathol­o­gist who has made an out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion to the dis­ci­pline of anatom­i­cal pathology.

Although he wasn’t able to attend the awards cer­e­mo­ny in per­son as he was lec­tur­ing in Poland, Richard was con­grat­u­lat­ed by col­leagues for his enor­mous con­tri­bu­tions to pathol­o­gy in Aus­trala­sia and beyond.

NSW Health Pathology’s Senior Staff Spe­cial­ist in Tis­sue Pathol­o­gy and Diag­nos­tic Oncol­o­gy at the Roy­al Prince Alfred Hos­pi­tal and Co-Med­ical Direc­tor at Melanoma Insti­tute Aus­tralia, Richard Scolyer’s career has been ded­i­cat­ed to diag­nos­ing melanoma and research to find new and effec­tive treat­ments to save lives from the disease.

Richard pro­vides a clin­i­cal con­sul­ta­tion ser­vice for the diag­no­sis of dif­fi­cult pig­ment­ed lesions, receiv­ing over 2,000 cas­es from around the world each year.

But soon after receiv­ing the pres­ti­gious award, Richard suf­fered a seizure and MRI scans lat­er revealed a tem­po­ral lobe mass. With­in days he was diag­nosed with an aggres­sive brain can­cer, glioblastoma.

In a video post­ed to social media, Richard admit­ted to feel­ing scared, but said he was thrilled at the sup­port he had received from friends and colleagues.

He revealed he intends to share his can­cer jour­ney with the wider com­mu­ni­ty, hop­ing it will have a pos­i­tive impact on those going through a sim­i­lar journey.

A man lying in a hospital bed, with the side of his head bandaged, smiling.
Richard Scoly­er just after under­go­ing surgery at Roy­al Prince Alfred Hospital.

Richard was upbeat as he spoke from a hos­pi­tal bed on 21 June at Roy­al Prince Alfred Hos­pi­tal, where he has worked for 25 years, on the day of his surgery to remove the bulk of the tumour.

Six hours lat­er, he appeared again, smil­ing at the size of his scar, thank­ing col­leagues and assur­ing fam­i­ly that his mem­o­ry was intact.

Richard, we wish you all the best for a full recov­ery. You and your fam­i­ly are in our thoughts as you take on this challenge.

Fol­low Richard’s jour­ney here.


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