Professor Chris Cunningham (BSc MBChB MD FRCSEd)

Prof. Chris Cunningham is an Associate Professor of Colorectal Surgery and the Divisional Director of Surgery for the Women’s and Oncology Division at Oxford University Hospitals, responsible for six directorates, with 3,000 staff, 300 consultants and a budget of around £290 million. He is also the Clinical Lead for Colorectal Cancer Theme, NIHR Health Informatics Collaborative.

He has a wide experience of emergency, general and colorectal surgery, particularly the management of rectal cancer and pelvic floor conditions. He had a leading role in expanding the use of minimally invasive surgery to the UK as a steering and education committee member of LAPCO, the UK national training programme in laparoscopic colorectal surgery. His roles in LOREC, the national programme for low rectal cancer and SPECC, the national programme for managing early colorectal cancer, have directly contributed to improved quality and decision-making for colorectal cancer multidisciplinary teams.

He has over 200 publications ( and lectures in the UK and internationally in his areas of expertise. In the last two years he has published and presented at international conferences on outcomes and complications of laparoscopic ventral mesh rectopexy, and multi-modality approaches to organ preservation in rectal cancer.

In recent years he has supervised and co-supervised four DPhil students covering areas including carcinogenesis and cancer biology, organ preservation in rectal cancer treatment and understanding unwarranted variation in colorectal cancer management.

The future direction of his research interests will be focused on organ preservation in rectal cancer and will be informed by forthcoming results of a European trial, TESAR, on which Prof. Chris was co-applicant with Dutch colleague Jurriaan Tuynman, funded through the Dutch Cancer Society.  This will guide management of early rectal cancer in considering the options of radical surgery versus local excision with adjuvant therapy. Depending on these results, they hope to develop a trial comparing adjuvant radiotherapy after local excision of rectal cancer with surveillance alone, with opportunities for a major translational component to this work. The aim is to tailor the treatment of rectal cancer such that effective cure is provided with minimal impact on quality of life.

Visit Chris’ LinkedIn profile here.

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