The European Cancer Congress 2013

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ESSO Lifetime Achievement Award

Recipient: Professor Bill Heald CBE, MChir, FRCS

About the Award: The 2013 ESSO Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to Professor Bill Heald in recognition of the dedication of his professional life to the research and development of the Total Mesorectal Excision (TME) technique for rectal cancer. His Award lecture is on:’2013 a year of challenges in the technique of TME’.

Professor Bill Heald enjoys an international reputation as a cancer surgeon. He is one of only only a handful of surgeons having developed a new operating technique that improves outcomes for cancer patients. Healdhas devoted his professional life to developing the total mesorectal excision (TME) operation for rectal cancer. He was the first to appreciate that rectal cancer threatening the radial surgical resection margin was the major cause of local recurrence of disease following proctectomy. He appreciated that rectal excision, as previously practiced, was being performed inadequately in the wrong anatomical plane, and that proctectomy should also include the anatomical mesorectum. The development of TME has single handedly reduced local recurrence of rectal cancer following proctectomy by 80%.

Professor Heald is Director of Surgery at the Pelican Cancer Foundation and has a personal Chair of Surgery at the University of Southampton.  He is a former Vice-President of the Council at the Royal College of Surgeons, UK.  He is past-President of the Section of Coloproctology at the Royal Society of Medicine and of the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland.

He has recently received numerous honorary degrees and Professorships in Sweden, Holland, Switzerland, Italy, Israel, Germany, Poland, France, Austria, China and Serbia.  He has performed over 500 operations in more than 50 countries around the world and remains extremely active in teaching, training and mentoring colorectal surgeons.