Associate Professor Damien Thomson was the first Medical Oncologist in Queensland but it certainly wasn’t the only first he encountered in his 35 years of dedication to cancer care.
Appointed in 1980, Dr Thomson’s original referral base was in solid tumours as a consequence of being the only person with the expertise to use the new expensive drug of the time – cisplatin.
However, it is his visionary application to the concept of multidisciplinary cancer care that saw him introduce clinics alongside surgeons for breast cancer and head & neck cancer to embrace a collaborative approach for individual care, an approach that was decades ahead of this becoming the norm.
He established the melanoma clinic at PA Hospital with Rob McLeod in 1983 which was an extension of PAH’s leadership in Queensland of the Melanoma Project. This long standing collaboration saw a string of leading clinical trials in melanoma which was the start of a long history of clinical trials in multiple tumour streams.
Appointed as the Director of Medical Oncology in the 1990’s, he has dedicated decades to registrar and student teaching with a long running lecture series in oncology as well as being the oncology representative for the written exam in the RACP.
A passionate musician, Dr Thomson is a viola player and a member of the Australia Doctors Orchestra, remains an oncology sub editor for the Internal Medical Journal, and he now heads the Queensland Committee for the Churchill Fellowship.