Dr Catherine Han is a New Zealand-trained medical oncologist with a focus on gastrointestinal, breast, and brain cancers. She also manages other cancers including head and neck cancer and melanoma. She is passionate about cancer research, particularly in cancer molecular profiling and genomics which facilitate personalised cancer treatments, and neurological complications of cancer therapies.
Catherine completed her medical degree at the University of Otago in 2002 and qualified as a medical oncology specialist in 2011.
In 2011, she was awarded a Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) Clinical Research Training Fellowship. With the support of this prestigious award, she was able to pursue a PhD degree and clinical research training. During the same period, she worked as a part-time consultant medical oncologist at Auckland City Hospital.
Catherine has received several prizes and scholarships. Her cancer research work on oxaliplatin-induced neurotoxicity won the overall Excellence in Health Research top award for the Auckland District Health Board for 2014, and the Fred Fastier Trust prize for the best oral research presentation at the Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists (ASCEPT) 2013 annual meeting. She was also awarded a Cancer Society Research Training Scholarship and a Genesis Oncology Trust Murray Jackson Clinical Fellowship.
In 2015, Catherine was awarded the Sir Owen Glenn Clinical Research Fellowship. As part of the fellowship, she works as a part-time senior clinical research fellow in the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre, where she is involved in clinical trials of new molecularly targeted anti-cancer drugs and clinical research projects about cancer genomics.
More recently, Catherine spent a year (July 2016 to June 2017) at Massachusetts General Hospital of Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA, for a further cancer specialist training and experience. She focused her time there on brain and gastrointestinal cancers (oesophageal, stomach, bowel, and pancreatic cancers). She also gained experience in other cancer types such as head and neck, breast, and melanoma. She returned to New Zealand with greater knowledge of cancer biology and treatments, as well as close connections with world-leading cancer experts.
Catherine has a strong medical and scientific background and provides the highest standard of care with compassion, friendliness, and clear communication.
Catherine is a member of American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO), and New Zealand Society for Oncology (NZSO).
Catherine is the mother of two girls and her husband is a consultant pathologist at Middlemore Hospital. She loves all kinds of music, especially classical, and plays the piano, cello, and flute. She is also fluent in Korean.
“Working in oncology is very rewarding. It is humbling to be in a position where I can make a difference or improve a patient’s quality of life. As an oncologist, I work very closely with my patients and see the love and care between each family. This is very special. I feel I am very privileged to be a part of a person’s cancer journey. This is why I enjoy working in oncology so much.
In our practice we have a team which feels very much like family, in the sense that we look out for each other. We have a great working culture and environment, and this reflects positively in the way we act and care for our patients and their families.”