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CCNS recognizes cancer health professionals and volunteers

Caring and compassionate, knowledgeable and insightful, dedicated and committed to providing the best possible cancer care based on the latest evidence ---Nova Scotia is home to an incredible team of cancer specialists, community health professionals and volunteers.

Each year since 2009 Cancer Care Nova Scotia has recognized the contribution of this talented team through the CCNS Excellence Awards, inviting nominations from the health community, patients and the public in four categories: pioneer, leadership, and two excellence in patient care awards (one for a health professional and the other for a volunteer). In addition to recognizing four recipients each year, the Excellence Awards ceremony acknowledges everyone who is part of Nova Scotia’s cancer system.

This year’s recipients were presented with awards during a ceremony held on June13th. They include: Dr. Mark Taylor, a head and neck surgeon from Capital Health; Mohammed Al-hamdani, a PhD candidate with Saint Mary's University; the Rosalin Nickerson Care Fund Society, in Barrington (South West Health); and Lynn MacDonald, a palliative care nurse, from Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority.

taylormarkDr. Taylor received the Pioneer award for establishing transoral laser microsurgery as a standard of care for head and neck cancer treatment. Research confirmed that patients having minimally invasive surgery experienced improved overall results and fewer side effects than radiation therapy. Dr. Taylor raised funds for specialized equipment and trained fellow Head and Neck surgeons in the new technique. The comprehensive program he developed has changed how head and neck cancer is treated in the Maritimes.

M_AMr. Al-hamdani was presented with the leadership award for his work in tobacco control. His masters thesis showed the benefits of plain cigarette packaging to help reduce smoking rates for Canadians, lowering their risk for cancer. He has also published research about the importance of healthy public policy and has addressed emerging tobacco and alcohol control issues at conferences. He founded Saint Mary's University Tobacco and Alcohol Research Society, a student-run organization to improve the health and well-being of students which helped Saint Mary's become a smoke-free campus this Fall.

The Rosalin Nickerson Care Fund Society was recognized with the volunteer award for Excellence in Patient Care. The Society was created in 2004 by Ms. Shelley d'Eon of Barrington, in memory of her mother, who died of pancreatic cancer at 57. Using funds from her mother's life insurance policy, Ms. Deon and volunteers have organized and hosted fundraising events, including the annual Walk for a Cause, which has become one of the area's largest community events. The walk celebrates local cancer survivors, honours loved ones who have died, and supports and encourages people with cancer. The society has helped more than 200 cancer patients in the area.

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Throughout her 34-year career, Lynn MacDonald, the recipient of the Excellence in macdonaldlynnPatient Care Award for a health professional, has helped keep patient-centred care as a top priority and has worked to ensure patients get the best care possible. She was a keen advocate for the care of persons with disabilities at end-of-life, bringing about policy changes, and was instrumental in developing a symptom-relief kit for palliative care home patients.

Dr. Carman Giacomantonio, Chief Medical Director for Cancer Care Nova Scotia, said this year's award recipients represent the many talented and dedicated health professionals and volunteers in Nova Scotia's cancer system.
"Cancer patients and families are at heart of why we do what we do," said Dr. Giacomantonio. "Routinely, teams meet to discuss issues and ways to improve treatment and care, but rarely do we stop to celebrate our successes. Cancer Care Nova Scotia's Excellence Awards is intended to do just that, to recognize and pay tribute to all of who work daily to treat and care for Nova Scotia cancer patients and families."

Special thanks everyone who works to enhance and improve the cancer system for Nova Scotia cancer patients and families.

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