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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 4 Hansard (5 April) . . Page.. 1279..


Tuesday, 5 April 2011

MR SPEAKER (Mr Rattenbury) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Dr John Buckingham

Motion of condolence

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Land and Property Services, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage): I move:

That this Assembly expresses its deep regret at the death of Dr John Buckingham, an outstanding surgeon who helped to save the lives of many Canberrans and who was renowned throughout Australia for his pioneering work in breast cancer surgery and diagnosis and tenders its profound sympathy to his family, friends and colleagues in their bereavement.

Mr Speaker, it was with sadness that we learnt some days ago of the death of Dr John Buckingham from pancreatic cancer. Dr Buckingham, who over the course of his professional life treated and tended thousands of Canberrans living with breast cancer, faced his own cancer diagnosis earlier this year phlegmatically and with characteristic realism and fortitude.

He was one of our city's eminent cancer surgeons for more than three decades and we are fortunate, as a community, that a man of his early and evident talents chose to spend his career here, when he might have had his pick of surgical posts anywhere in the world.

Dr Buckingham graduated with honours in medicine and surgery from the University of Sydney in February 1971. He trained in general surgery at the Mayo Clinic in the United States of America. In 1979, when Canberra's Calvary hospital first opened its doors, Dr Buckingham joined its staff as a consultant general surgeon.

During this time he became one of the first in his profession to demonstrate the value of CT scanning in the early diagnosis of appendicitis. From the earliest years of his professional life, John Buckingham was one who sought better treatments and greater hope for those in his care.

After some years, he decided to specialise in surgery for those diagnosed with breast cancer, and pioneered the sentinel node mapping technique, which enables better diagnosis of the possible involvement of lymph nodes in the care and treatment of those with breast cancer.

Doctors know that some cancers spread in a predictable fashion, first to the lymph nodes closest to the tumour—the sentinel node. If these nodes are free of cancer, there


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