Hi, I’m Chris Holcombe, a Consultant Breast Surgeon, Cancer Lead for the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and Medical Director for the Merseyside and Cheshire Cancer Network. My role focuses on improving the outcome and experience of people whose lives are affected by cancer throughout the region; this covers everything from stopping people getting cancer in the first place to diagnosis to aftercare.
I grew up in Cardiff which is where I had my first job in a supermarket called Leo’s, stacking shelves to earn some extra pocket money. A job as a hospital porter gave me my first taste of hospital life. Coming up to my A levels I applied for a place at university studying zoology, but the Easter before I took my exams, I had to have a lump in my neck removed, the diagnosis turned out to be wrong, all was well but the experience developed my interest in medicine. I never did do Zoology but instead wrote to every medical school in the country after my A levels before being offered a place in London, the rest is history!
There have been many highlights in my career; two months in Nepal as a medical student, three years working in Nigeria treating everything from little babies with blocked intestines to removing arrows from people’s hearts.
As a Consultant it has been a privilege to play a small part in improving the treatment of breast cancer, I spent two months in Atlanta USA learning breast reconstruction techniques, and have seen a whole series of improvements in both surgical and medical treatment of breast cancer, and most importantly now see far more women being cured and living a long and active life after their treatment.
I’m a trustee at my local church so when I’m not in my doctor’s uniform, you will often find me there. I’m also a big fan of mountaineering and love to escape to the hills when I get the chance. Last year I climbed the three highest peaks in Great Britain in 24 hours, raising money for the church’s community projects.
Action on Cancer is a great way to spread the word about cancer and make the journey seem less daunting, there’s help and advice at every stage from initial consultations to surgery and aftercare, so I’d advise anyone not to hesitate if they need help, we’re always here!