Dr Rhonda Farrell is a certified gynaecological oncologist, advanced laparoscopic pelvic surgeon, and colposcopist.
Dr Farrell has a high level of expertise in the assessment and management of all gynaecological conditions, including gynaecological pre-cancers and cancers. She performs minimally invasive (laparoscopic) surgery for benign gynaecological conditions (eg: endometriosis, ovarian masses), hysteroscopy, colposcopy for management of abnormal cervical screening tests and preinvasive disease, and gynaecological cancer surgery.
Above all, Rhonda believes in a woman’s personal choice for her own medical care. Rhonda provides evidence-based treatment options where possible, and supports her patients through their journey from diagnosis, surgery, to after-surgery treatment and follow-up. She is a strong advocate for the patient-focused multidisciplinary model of care. Reflecting this ethos, Rhonda works closely with the primary care physician (GP) and with allied health colleagues including psychologists, specialist nurses, and physiotherapists.
Rhonda completed her first degree in Physiotherapy where she graduated with first class honours in 1986. She then completed her Medical degree (MBBS) from the University of Sydney in 1995 with first class honours and first place in Pathology and Surgery. After obtaining her fellowship from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG), being awarded the medal for first in the fellowship examination, she completed a further four years of subspecialty training in Gynaecological Oncology and became a Certified Gynaecologic Oncologist (CGO- gynecological cancer surgeon) in 2007. Her CGO fellowship training was undertaken at the Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick, Westmead Hospital in Sydney, and King Edward Memorial Hospital in Perth.
Rhonda completed a Masters of Surgery in Surgical Oncology (Sydney University) in 2014. She is currently completing a PhD on the role of peritonectomy surgery and heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy for ovarian cancer (UNSW). In 2017 Rhonda worked for a year in the Peritonectomy Unit at St George Hospital under the tutelage of Professor David Morris learning radical abdominal surgery and HIPEC (heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy) for peritoneal malignancies. She continues her association with this unit.
Rhonda has continued an active role in teaching and mentoring trainees in gynaecological cancer surgery. She has contributed greatly to the National training programme of gynaecological oncologists as the chairperson of the gynaecological oncology committee of the Royal Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. She is currently a conjoint lecturer at UNSW and mentors research students.
Reflecting her interest in improving outcomes for her patients with cancer, Rhonda is an active member of many cancer committees including Cancer Australia, NSW Cancer Institute, The Translational Cancer Research Network, and ANZGOG (Australian New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group). She is currently the lead for a number of research projects in the area of gynaecological cancer. She is excited to be involved in exploring innovative treatment strategies that combine latest medical research with the best of clinical care.
As of March 2020, Rhonda has been appointed as Acting Director of Gynaecological Oncology Services at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, Camperdown. Dr Farrell will be seeing both public and private patients with gynaecological cancer at this centre. Rhonda will also be working at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital peritonectomy and HIPEC unit for specialised treatment of women with ovarian cancer.
In May of 2020 Dr Farrell was elected the Asia/Oceania Council Representative for the International Gynaecological Cancer Society. The council representatives bring unique perspective to important discussions guiding the strategic direction of the society.
In June 2020, Dr Farrell was granted funding from the Morrison government for a clinical cancer trial. She was one of the 10 successful clinical trials that will be funded to find innovative cancer treatments for melanoma, reproductive and gynaecological cancers and childhood brain cancer. Rhonda’s trial is HyNOVA – A randomised study comparing Hyperthermic and Normothermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy following interval cytoreductive surgery for stage III epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube and primary peritoneal cancer.
2020/ Asia/Oceania Representative, Regional Council of the International Gynaecological Cancer Society.
Associate Professor Rhonda Farrell was elected to be the Asia/Oceania representative for IGCS
2020/ Acting Director of Gynaecological Oncology Services at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse
Rhonda was appointed as Acting Director of Gynaecological Oncology Services at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, in March 2020, upon the retirement of previous Director Professor Jonathan Carter.
2019 / Deputy Director of Gynaecological Oncology Services at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse
Rhonda was appointed as an Associate Professor and Deputy Director of Gynaecological Oncology Services at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse in January 2019.
2017 / PhD candidate UNSW
The current and future role of peritonectomy and heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) for epithelial ovarian cancer in Australia and New Zealand.
2016 / Advanced Leadership Programme
Women and Leadership Australia (WLA)
2014 / Master of Surgery (Surgical Oncology)
University of Sydney
Thesis: Lymphadenectomy in Early Stage High-Risk Endometrial Cancer: Clinical Characteristics and Outcomes in an Australian Cohort.
2007 / Certificate of Gynaecological Oncology (CGO)
Awards: Keith Free Prize for best oral presentation ASGO, 2006. Keith Free Prize for best oral presentation ASGO 2004. Brown Craig Travel Scholarship 2008.
2005 / Fellowship of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (FRANZCOG)
2003 / Membership of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (MRANZCOG)
Awards: Medal for Outstanding Achievement for first in the membership examination. Mayne Health Travel Scholarship RANZCOG 2003
1998 / Diploma of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
1995 / Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) Honours Class 1
University of Sydney Awards: Hinder Memorial Medal for Final Year Surgery and Clinical Surgery, Sir John Lowenthal Prize in Surgery and Clinical Surgery, David Sugerman Prize for Pathology, Cedric Swanton Memorial Prize for Psychiatry, Abbott Medical Student Scholarship – Year 2, 3, 4
1987/ Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy) with Distinction
Cumberland College of Health Sciences
- Asia/Oceania Representative, International Gynaecological Cancer Society 2020-current
- Member of ANZ Peritoneal Malignancy Collaboration 2017-current
- Member of Translational Cancer Research Network (TCRN) Scientific Advisory Board, UNSW 2017-current
- Member, Clinical Expert Review Panel, Research Advisory Committee, HSA Biobank, The Lowy, UNSW
- Member of Cancer Australia Intercollegiate Advisory Group 2017-current
- Chair of Working Group Gynaecological Oncology and Member of Gynaecology Clinical Committee for Commonwealth Government MBS Review, 2016-current
- Member, Quality and Safety Committee for New Cervical Cancer Screening Guideline implementation, Commonwealth Government of Australia 2015-2017
- Member, Colposcopy Working Group for New Cervical Cancer Screening Guideline implementation, Commonwealth Government of Australia 2017
- Lead Clinician for National Patient Blood Management Collaborative at Royal Hospital for Women, (Prince of Wales Hospital /Royal Hospital for Women Collaborative) 2016
- The Australian Representative for International Network on Cancer, Infertility and Pregnancy (INCIP) 2015-current
- Member of Research Advisory Committee and Endometrial Cancer Research Working Group for ANZGOG 2015-current
- Member of Ovarian Cancer Clinical Advisory Group, NSW Cancer Institute 2017
- Member of Medical Advisory Committee, Prince of Wales Private Hospital 2015-current
- Chairperson, Gynaecology Committee, Prince of Wales Private Hospital 2015-current
- Member of Australian Society of Gynaecological Oncologists
- Member of International Gynaecological Cancer Society
- Member of European Society of Gynaecological Oncologists
- Member of Franklin Women – Women in Health and Medical Research
- Reviewer for International Journal of Gynaecological Cancer, and Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology- current
Medical Registration Details:
AHPRA Medical Regsitration No. 310616