Roger Blamey

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 03 November 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6395
  1. Ned Stafford, Hamburg
  1. ns{at}

Pioneer breast surgeon who led the development of the Nottingham prognostic index

In 1961, when Roger Blamey completed his medical studies at the University of Cambridge, there was basically one standard approach to breast cancer treatment—the radical mastectomy. The understanding of tumour development and risk to patients was primitive by today’s standards. Sometimes both breasts would be removed needlessly.

While training in surgery and studying cancer during the 1960s and early 70s, Blamey became determined to help improve breast cancer treatment. He wanted to tailor the treatment of patients with breast cancer so that they received the most appropriate therapy rather than the broad based standard of the day.

In 1973, soon after being appointed senior lecturer in surgery at the University of Nottingham, Blamey orchestrated the founding of the Nottingham/Tenovus Breast Cancer Study, a collaboration with the Tenovus Research Institute in Cardiff. The team’s goal was to develop a better method of predicting life expectancy for patients with breast cancer. During the next nine years Blamey’s team analysed the treatment of hundreds of patients, while monitoring their progress after the treatment and studying a …

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