Honorary University Fellow (2018)

If one asks the question: “Who is the authority on, and pioneer in, breast cancer treatment in Hong Kong?” the answer would surely be Dr. Polly S Y Cheung, the “Master Surgeon of Breast Cancer”.  For many years, Dr Cheung has been providing treatment and support for a great number of breast cancer patients.  Her contribution in this field has been spectacular.

After graduating from the Faculty of Medicine (the Faculty was renamed as Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine in 2005) of The University of Hong Kong (HKU), she continued to receive training in surgery and subsequently became Fellow of a number of professional bodies, including the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, the American College of Surgeons, the College of Surgeons of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine (Surgery).  She had also travelled to the United States to undergo specialized training, and engaged in research, in breast and endocrine surgery at the University of Michigan.  After conducting research and teaching at the Department of Surgery of HKU and performing clinical duties at the Queen Mary Hospital, Dr Cheung joined the Kwong Wah Hospital as Consultant Surgeon, before going into private practice and devoting herself to the prevention and treatment of breast cancer in Hong Kong.

A pioneer in the treatment of breast cancer in Hong Kong, Dr Cheung set up the first one-stop breast health clinic.  She introduced a new approach to the diagnosis of breast cancer, which combines needle biopsy procedures and ultrasound examinations.  She was also the first surgeon in Hong Kong to carry out operations on breast conservation and reconstruction.  In the nineties, Dr Cheung introduced the first breast-screening programme in Hong Kong at the Kwong Wah Hospital, which had greatly facilitated the early detection of breast cancer.

In 2005, Dr Cheung founded the Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation (HKBCF), which is the first non-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion of breast health education, better support for patients, and research in breast cancer.  Under the leadership of Dr Cheung and other health care experts, the Foundation not only provides patients with professional holistic cancer support but also speedy breast health screening services for the women of Hong Kong.  In 2007, Dr Cheung established the Hong Kong Breast Cancer Registry which collects data on local breast cancer cases for analysis and research, on the basis of which annual reports are being published and innovative ways of preventing and curing the disease recommended.  In 2011, the Foundation established a community-based Breast Health Centre in North Point, providing screening mammography for women.  The Centre also provides free screening service for the low-income group, to avail women of the group easy access to professional, quality and timely examinations.  The service provided by the Centre has helped ease the traumatic experience, both physical and psychological, of patients on their treatment path.  In 2018, the Foundation, with the support of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, set up another Breast Health Centre in Kowloon to provide more services to the public in low income districts.

Dr Cheung is an Honorary Clinical Associate Professor of the Department of Surgery at the Faculty of Medicine of HKU, an accredited trainer for surgical programmes for young doctors of The College of Surgeons of Hong Kong, and an Honorary Consultant of Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital.  In all these capacities, she has dedicated herself wholeheartedly in the nurture of medical talents for Hong Kong.  In 2014, the Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation, under the stewardship of Dr Cheung, set up “Breast Cancer HK Online”, the first e-platform which provides data and updates on local breast cancer treatment for medical professionals.

Dr Cheung’s concept of “holistic treatment” in patient care is a perfect match with the “whole person education” mission of Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU).  She has for a long time been a member of the Council and the Court of the University, and has also served in the Honorary Degrees Committee and Personnel Committee of the Council.  In all these endeavours, she has put forth constructive and important advice and suggestions for the reform and development of the University.  Dr. Polly S Y Cheung is without doubt an exemplary model of the HKBU Honorary University Fellows.