Southampton surgeons help develop liver cancer programme in Caribbean


A group of liver specialists based at Southampton’s university hospitals have developed a pioneering cancer surgery programme in the Caribbean.

Consultant surgeons Neil Pearce, Mo Abu Hilal and a team of practitioners have developed a radical project that encompasses highly-advanced laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery for liver cancer patients in Trinidad and Tobago and the southern Caribbean.

Last month, the team of UK and local oncologists and radiologists carried out their first laparoscopic operation under the new programme at West Shore Medical Centre in Port of Spain.

Mr Pearce has worked closely alongside local specialist surgeons Dr Adrian Indar and Dr Celestin Ragoonanan to revolutionise liver cancer surgery and treatment in the country, sourcing top-of-the-range equipment from both the US and the UK.

“This type of surgery, in combination with better oncology management and more timely chemotherapy, will give people in Trinidad a whole new outlook on liver cancer,” said Mr Pearce, based at Southampton General Hospital.

“Until now, liver surgery has not been offered routinely in Trinidad or the Caribbean, meaning patients would have to travel and face time away from their family and friends at a very sensitive time - or miss out on surgery altogether.”

Mr Pearce  said the  tailored approach offered to each patient was the key factor in the new programme.

“By creating closer ties between all the relevant healthcare bodies and sourcing referrals from local specialists, every patient seen under the programme will be treated uniquely to meet their needs,” he said.

The project involves in-depth analysis of every patient  to ensure they receive surgery or treatment specific to their condition, their cancer and their physical wellbeing.

Mr Pearce, Mr Abu Hilal and four other UK surgeons each make one or two trips to Trinidad per year out of their annual leave entitlement to carry out procedures and clinical appointments, as well as running training courses for local doctors.

Posted on Wednesday 6 May 2009