Visit from Icon Group Australia

My time at the Union for International Cancer Control

9 January 2020
Rhys Fitzgerald, Icon Group

Rhys Fitzgerald, Site Manager

Icon Group AU

Icon Group, Partnerships, Radiotherapy, Middleton Scholarship

Rhys Fitzgerald (front right) with the UICC team at the head offices in Geneva, Switzerland.

As 2019 drew to a close, there was no better time to reflect on my past experience as the Middleton Scholar for 2019. I was fortunate enough to spend a week with Icon Group’s partner and friends at the Union for International Cancer Control in Geneva, Switzerland. During this week at UICC’s head office, I spent time with each of the different teams, as well as Dr Cary Adams, CEO, to get an insight into the fantastic work they are doing to combat the global cancer burden, and how important their relationship is with Icon and companies across the world contributing to making a difference.

It didn’t take me long to start seeing the similarities between Icon and UICC and understand why the relationship is so valuable, and functions so well. Both teams are built on similar core values and are driven by universal beliefs to ensure as many patients who are diagnosed with cancer, are able to receive the best treatment possible, as close to home as possible. Both UICC and Icon have enthusiastic, dynamic and driven teams which allow our shared visions to thrive and become a reality for the benefit of cancer patients across the globe.

It is more evident than ever that the global fight against cancer is stronger than ever. But it requires a multi-sectoral approach, in which both public and private companies, along with civil societies and NGOs come together to fight the battle together. My time spent with the team at UICC in Geneva has allowed me to gain perspective on how all facets of global cancer care come together to achieve a common goal. It was a privilege to be able to develop the UICC’s insight into how an Icon Cancer Centre operates and share my perspective as a cancer care professional. It was inspirational seeing so many people with the same values as the dedicated team I work with every day at Icon all committed to helping cancer patients. It is a sobering thought that we have all been affected by cancer in some shape or form but knowing I am part of the change and that there are so many others fighting to make a difference provides endless hope for a better future.

While my year as Middleton Scholar is coming to an end, it has opened so many wonderful doors for me. I have been able to meet with world-class healthcare leaders, gain a deeper understanding of collaboration and international processes, develop leadership and communication skills and be part of a global movement. I look forward to continuing to support UICC through our partnership and welcoming the 2020 Middleton Scholar at the start of their journey.

I ended 2019 feeling privileged of everything available to me both within my personal and work life. This scholarship opportunity has allowed me to grow not just within my position at Icon, but across a wide range of professional skills. It is given me a platform to learn from like-minded people across different organisations as well as leaders at Icon. Getting to see the work of UICC and gaining more insight into how Icon is part of the wider picture also gave me the motivation to continue to work hard every day. It makes you stop and reflect on everything you are grateful for in the workplace and at home.

In 2019, Icon became the first Australian company to provide cancer treatment in China. When we were told we had treated our first patient in China, it struck a chord. Without Icon, this patient would not have been able to receive the treatment they needed and their family would have less precious years spent with their loved one. Organisations like Icon and UICC and so many others across the world are fighting to give more patients this opportunity. It is a real honour to have represented Icon on the world stage and to be given this opportunity. Programs like the Middleton Scholarship provide unique professional development platforms and place people at its core, enabling them to grow with the organisation and be an integral part of our mission.

I would like to thank Mark Middleton and his family for this scholarship and I am very excited to see what the next chapter as a Middleton Scholar Alumni looks like and look forward to welcoming more scholars as the program matures and continues to grow. I end 2019 with hope, knowing that together we can make a difference.

About the author

I completed my bachelor’s in Radiation Therapy in 2009 and went on to work in the public health system from 2010 until 2015. During this time I endeavoured to understand what I could do personally, to ensure better outcomes for patients. This led me to undertake a Masters by research degree in which I investigated novel techniques for lung cancer patients. Knowing that survival rates were low following standardly fractionated radiation therapy and that new treatment options like stereotactic ablative radiation therapy (SABR) were becoming more mainstream, I investigated ways in which we could deliver these novel techniques, in the shortest time possible, while reducing toxicities to the patient.

At the end of 2015, I made the move to Icon Group. This allowed me to pursue my interests in the management side of cancer care and positively influence my team. Since joining Icon Group I have worked in both radiation and medical, managing both and worked closely with both internal and external stakeholders to provide holistic care to our patients.

During this time I have lucky enough to reach Site Manager where my role, coupled with my from line experience enables me to constantly improve outcomes for patients. I currently sit on two editorial boards of international journals as associate editor, have completed a Masters of Business Administration and am a strong advocate for our profession by sitting on panels for our national professional body ASMIRT. I am also the Deputy Chair of Icon Group’s Radiation Therapy Practice Unit which is the peak body inside our organisations that provides structure and governance to our radiation therapy team.

Last update: 
Thursday 16 January 2020