Top English surgeon to speak on colorectal cancer surgery at NUI Galway

An internationally renowned English surgeon will deliver the memorial lecture at Ireland’s largest surgical conference to be hosted by NUI Galway from September 2 to 3.

Professor RJ Heald, OBE, will speak on the subject of “Colorectal Cancer Surgery - Open, Keyhole, Endoscope or Robot - Where are we Going?” at the 36th Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture and Surgical Symposium.

Colorectal cancer, commonly known as bowel cancer, is the third most commonly diagnosed major cancer in the world.

Professor of surgery at the North Hampshire Hospital and surgical director of the Pelican Cancer Centre, Basingstoke, Hampshire Professor Heald’s main interest for the past 20 years has been the research and development of the Total Mesorectal Excision (TME ) technique for rectal cancer.

He pioneered this technique which has now become the new gold standard for the treatment of bowel cancer because it improves cure rates and reduces local recurrence. With TME, not only is the cancer tumour removed but all the surrounding fat, lymph glands and blood vessels are too, minimising the risk of the cancer recurring.

Professor Heald’s expertise has been recognised throughout the world. He was the recipient of the Gold Medal in Surgery from the Association of Surgery of the Netherlands, the Bengt Ihre Silver Medal from the Swedish Medical Society and the Cancer Bacup Award for Clinically Relevant Cancer Research.

An honorary fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland, he is also an elected member of council and has been the vice president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

Professor Heald holds a personal chair at the University of Southampton and has an honorary doctorate from the University of Linkoping, Sweden. He was formerly President of the Coloproctology and Surgery sections of the Royal Society of Medicine.

The annual Sir Peter Freyer Memorial Lecture and Surgical Symposium provides a platform for healthcare professionals to present their research and clinical work and allows for the merging of both scientific and clinical information.

It is named in memory of the Galway-born surgeon, Sir Peter Freyer, who performed the first successful surgical operation to remove an enlarged prostate in 1900.

Michael Kerin, professor of surgery at NUI Galway, says the university is delighted to welcome Professor Heald here.

“He is focused on advancing the most effective techniques in precision surgery for bowel cancer, aimed at improving survival and quality of life.”

On the second day of the surgical symposium, Professor Eilis McGovern, the president of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon at St James’s Hospital, will present the state of the art lecture entitled “Surgical Training and Surgical Service - Are we getting the Formula Right?”

Professor McGovern spearheaded the establishment of the country’s third public cardiac unit, The Keith Shaw Unit, at St James’s Hospital and was appointed as project director of a HSE initiative to reconfigure acute hospital services in the North Eastern Health Board to ensure patient safety

She has been a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon at St James’ Hospital since 1987 and has served on the Council of Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland since 1995, chairing the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences committee, the governing body of the schools of medicine, pharmacy, physiotherapy and nursing from 2001-2006. She also chaired the college committee, making recommendations to the Council on issues relating to surgical training and practice.

To register for the conference or for further information log onto visit


Page generated in 0.2728 seconds.