Assessing blood cancers like leukaemia is part of the daily workflow for Dr Tracey Batt and Dr Anna Johnston of Royal Hobart Hospital.
Dual-trained as haematologists and physicians, the doctors perform the important task of diagnosing cancers and helping guide and administer treatment.
Usually holed up indoors, today they are stepping out of the lab and surgery in a display of solidarity with the patients whose cancers they help uncover and treat.
At 5 o’clock today, the doctors head to the Shambles Brewery in North Hobart to shave their heads for the World’s Greatest Shave.
‘Getting a taste of their own medicine,’ is how Dr Johnston describes it.
The pair originally discussed the fundraising venture during their lunch break, but admittedly, Dr Batt has more to lose than Dr Johnston, in the hair stakes that is.
Dr Johnston is awake to the sacrifice, noting ‘Tracey has long beautiful hair, while mine is fairly short already. Not that my nine-year-old daughter hasn’t raised concerns.’
But Dr Batt’s loss will be the gain of ‘Sustainable Salons’, an organisation that makes wigs from real hair and of course the World’s Greatest Shave that seeks to raise money for research and support of those living with blood cancers.
‘It’s true,’ said Dr Batt, ‘that I have bountiful hair and that will be hard to lose, but given we’ve raised around $9,000 so far makes it all worthwhile.’
Outside the display of solidarity with blood cancer patients and the money raised for blood cancer research, day-to-day haematologists like Dr Batt and Dr Johnston perform vital work.
100% of cancers like leukaemia or lymphoma are diagnosed in pathology labs. The discoveries made in a pathology lab are also central to decisions on how to treat blood cancers.
‘This afternoon we’re about to shave our heads to raise money for the World’s Greatest Shave, which we’re really excited about and feel is really important to draw attention to,’ said Dr Johnston.
‘Blood cancer is the third most common cause of cancer death in Australia,’ added Dr Batt. ‘so, it’s great to be able to support people with blood cancers both inside and outside a medical environment.’
For fast-facts on blood cancers click here