Hunter Cancer Centre
Part of Ramsay Health Care

Medical Oncologist

Fiona Abell

Dr Fiona Abell

Medical Oncologist

Dr Abell graduated from UNSW in 1986 and completed her specialist training in medical oncology in 1994 (FRACP). The final year of her training was completed in the United States where she undertook a clinical oncology fellowship at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, NY. She also holds a graduate Diploma in Clinical Epidemiology which she completed through the University of Newcastle in 2001.

Upon returning to Australia in 1995 Dr Abell commenced work as a staff medical oncologist at St George Hospital in Sydney and since that time she has worked at several major teaching hospitals both in NSW and interstate. In 2002 she returned to her hometown of Newcastle where was appointed to her current position as senior staff specialist in the department of medical oncology at Calvary Mater Newcastle. Dr Abell also consults privately on a weekly basis at Lake Macquarie Private Hospital.

Dr Abell has always had a commitment to undergraduate clinical teaching and from 2002- 2006 she redesigned and co-ordinated the year five medical student oncology teaching program for the University of Newcastle.

Dr Abell's subspecialty interests include the management of lung, breast and genitourinary tumours. She was an active member of the ALP Lung Cancer Consultative group from 2000-2006 and chaired the Area Lung cancer Multidisciplinary team from 2003- 2007. She is also a current member of several national clinical trials groups including the ALTG and ANZBCTG.

Dr Abell's non work interests include home renovation, travel, the arts, good wine (especially a McLaren Vale red), golf (when she finds the time) and improving her conversational French (when she finds even more time!) Dr Abell also has a beautiful dog called Georgie who keeps her busy and entertained.

Stephen Ackland

Professor Stephen Ackland

Medical Oncologist

Prof. Stephen Ackland is a senior medical oncologist with over 30 years experience, specialising in:

  • general oncology diagnosis and medical management
  • gastrointestinal cancers (all types, including Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumours),
  • adrenal, head and neck, and brain cancers,
  • clinical trials.

All types of referrals accepted.

Professor Ackland has played a key role in organisation, harmonisation and enhancements of translational and clinical research locally, on a state basis and nationally. He is Director of Hunter Cancer Research Alliance, and a current Board member of Australasian Gastro-intestinal Trials Group. He is passionate about cancer research including clinical trials, and cancer pharmacology.

More information:

Andre van der Westhuizen

Dr Andre van der Westhuizen

Medical Oncologist
MBChB; MMed (Internal Medicine); Cert Medical Oncology (SA);
Cert Medical Genetics (SA); MSc (Med ) Genetic Counselling

Dr Andre van der Westhuizen is a Specialist in Medical Oncology and a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Physicians. He has dual subspecialty training in Medical Oncology and Medical Genetics and completed a Masters Degree in Internal Medicine and a Masters Degree in Science during his training as a specialist. He holds both a certificate in Medical Genetics and Medical Oncology of the College of Physicians of South Africa and was awarded the College of Medicine of South Africa Medal for outstanding performance in the final subspecialty examinations in Medical Genetics. He has an interest in Cancer Genetics and in aspects of Translational Research as it pertains to molecular medicine and clinical cancer research. He plays a central role in advising patients about the genetic aspects of their malignancy - this does not only involve inherited cancers, but also sporadic cancers and how testing can be used to plan treatment. His MSc in Genetic Counselling has helped him to understand how patients deal with serious life events and has enabled him to walk patients through the process of coming to terms with their diagnosis.

Dr van der Westhuizen's interests are in all solid tumour malignancies, but he focuses on gastrointestinal malignancies, breast cancer and melanoma at the Calvary Mater Hospital where he holds a Staff Specialist position in Medical Oncology. He consults at the Hunter Cancer Centre at Lake Macquarie Private hospital on a weekly basis. He is a principle and co-investigator on clinical trials at both these sites and is involved in pre- and postgraduate training and in clinical and translational research. He is also a member of several national clinical trials groups.

Dr van der Westhuizen is currently actively involved in establishing integrative oncology services in the Hunter region to complement conventional treatments in Oncology. These include evidence based complementary therapies and support systems aimed at enhancing quality of life during and after treatment. He is of the strong opinion that there should be a whole person approach to Oncology in order to improve quality of life and help patients to find the best way of dealing with the difficulties of cancer treatment and with living with a cancer diagnosis.

On a personal level, Dr van der Westhuizen is married with children and lives in Eleebana on the eastern side of Lake Macquarie. His wife is a Staff Specialist in Anatomical Pathology at the John Hunter Hospital. He is a Christian and actively involved in the Church and the Church community.

Nick Zdenkowski

Dr Nick Zdenkowski

Dr Nick Zdenkowski is a specialist medical oncologist with an interest in chemotherapy and hormone-blocking therapy for patients with breast cancer. He sees patients in his rooms at The Breast and Endocrine Centre, Gateshead, and at the Calvary Mater Newcastle. His chemotherapy patients receive their treatment at the Hunter Cancer Centre Day Oncology Unit. He works part-time as a Hunter New England Local Health District Clinical Research Fellow, and has a Conjoint Lecturer position at the University of Newcastle.

Dr Zdenkowski graduated from the University of Newcastle in 2005 with a Bachelor of Medicine, followed by a Graduate Diploma of Palliative Medicine in 2010. In 2012 he was admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. Subsequently in 2014 he completed a Graduate Diploma of Clinical Epidemiology and is now working towards completion of a PhD. 

Dr Zdenkowski provides high quality, patient centered care via the application of best evidence, good communication, supportive care and the use of decision support interventions. He is engaged with the multidisciplinary breast cancer team, including surgeons, radiation oncologists, pathologists, breast care nurses, psychologists, physiotherapists and allied and complementary health practitioners. He regularly attends the breast cancer multidisciplinary team meeting at the Calvary Mater Hospital.

Rob Paterson

Dr Rob Paterson - Medical Oncologist


An oncologist and clinical research fellow, Dr Rob Paterson provides his patients with evidence based, holistic care. He believes good communication is essential and strives to explain medical information in a way his patients understand, empowering them to make informed choices about their treatment. Rob's kind and reassuring manner is much appreciated by those he looks after.

Rob attended university and completed his early medical training in the UK. He graduated from Guys, Kings & St Thomas' Medical School in 2004.

His broad ranging experience since graduation has spanned many fields within medicine, but early in his career Rob discovered oncology was his greatest medical interest and the speciality most suited to him. With this strong sense of vocation Rob went on to complete his physician and advanced oncology training and was awarded his fellowship in 2015. 


Hiren Mandaliya

Dr Hiren Mandaliya


Dr Hiren Mandaliya is a fellow of The Royal Australasian College of Physicians. Dr Mandaliya also has a special interest in cancer research.

Following attainment of his fellowship, Dr Mandaliya joined Calvary Mater Newcastle as Clinical Trial Fellow to broaden his research experience and while there he works with leading clinicians, scientists and researchers in the field.

In his current role, he has been involved in multiple Phase I, Phase II and Phase III trials as sub-investigator. Dr Mandaliya has a strong commitment to medical education and is affiliated as a Conjoint lecturer with the University of Newcastle.

He is also an active member of Future Leaders Group of Hunter Cancer Research Alliance (HCRA). Dr Mandaliya completed his MBBS and MD (Internal Medicine) in India and came to Australia in 2009.

He completed his fellowship training in Medical Oncology (FRACP) at Calvary Mater Newcastle, North West Cancer Centre (Tamworth) and Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centre.

Dr Mandaliya has conducted research projects for breast, lung, gastrointestinal and other malignancies. His research work and interests have also focused on psychosocial aspects of cancer survivors and medical students’ education.

He has presented his research results at various local, national and international conferences such as ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology) and ESMO (European Society of Medical Oncology).

Dr Mandaliya has also published his research in various peer-reviewed journals. Dr Mandaliya has a broad interest in the management of malignancies such as gastrointestinal, gynaecological, genitourinary, lung, melanoma, breast and head & neck.

Dr Mandaliya is a regular member of the multidisciplinary tumour board meeting at John Hunter Hospital and Calvary Mater Newcastle.

He is a member of Medical Oncology Group of Australia (MOGA), the Australasian Gastro-Intestinal Trials Group (AGITG), Breast Cancer Trials group, ASCO and ESMO.