Prof Martin Tattersall AO


Professor Martin Tattersall AO was appointed Professor of Cancer Medicine at the University of Sydney in 1977 when he was a young UK cancer expert. For Australia it would prove to be an enormous gain.

Today Professor Tattersall is widely recognised and respected for his huge contribution to cancer research, and his pivotal role in improving patient care. He received Cure Cancer grants in 1989, 1990 and 1992.

His Research Success

Martin’s work has focused largely on seeking ways to help doctors and patients communicate more effectively. It includes pioneering the development of question prompt lists for cancer patients when they see doctors, and promoting the use of audiotapes to study communication in cancer and palliative care consultations.

Martin has witnessed great advances in cancer research, and a shift away from the belief that the goal should be an outright cure. “Cancer is increasingly becoming a chronic disease as opposed to ‘it will kill you if you don’t kill it’. The answer may lie in a drug to turn a cancer off so you die with it rather than of it.”

Support for Young Researchers

Martin’s association with Cure Cancer spans over three decades. In this time he has served as Chairman of the Medical Grants Advisory Committee and as a Director of the Board of Trustees.

Martin speaks with enthusiasm about being involved in the career development of young cancer researchers and doctors, acknowledging that the more support cancer researchers get when they’re young, the more likely they are to have great ideas.

Over his stellar career, Martin has gone on to secure approximately $20 million of research funding and has supervised more than 20 PhD and MD research students. He was a member of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Cancer Committee for 20 years, and he is a Life Member of the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) Roll of Honour. He was awarded the Medical Oncology Group of Australia (MOGA) Cancer Achievement Award in 2000. He chaired the Australian Drug Evaluation Committee (ADEC) from 1997-2008.

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