The Hero who showed us that surgery treats spinal cancer better than radiotherapy alone

In 2005, Dr Patchell and his colleagues published ground-breaking research into spinal cancer in the Lancet. For the first time, this group proved that when cancer has spread to the spine and starts to compress the spinal cord, tackling the spinal cord compression directly with surgery resulted in a better chance of stopping paralysis compared with radiotherapy alone.

Soon afterwards, the message spread worldwide, with the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) publishing guidance to NHS on how to surgically tackle metastatic spinal cord compression as soon as possible- within 24 hours of diagnosis if possible.

Last year, Dr Patchell gave a presentation explaining how he looked at current evidence, historical outcomes and the 2005 study which is available on youtube here. ​