A BOOK which a world-leading surgeon helped to pen about “Basingstoke’s most important contribution to the care of cancer patients” has been officially launched.

The technical tome, entitled Manual of Total Mesorectal Excision, was launched by pioneering surgeons Professor Bill Heald and Mr Brendan Moran, who specialise in colorectal cancer treatment.

The book includes chapters from many of those who were instrumental in bringing the TME technique for treating bowel cancer, which saves more lives than any other treatment for the condition, to public attention.

Prof Heald, the pioneer of the technique, said: “I was called a flamboyant charlatan in the beginning. Very few people took it seriously.”

But the technique, which involves removing the part of the bowel where the tumour is sited, and also, importantly, all of the surrounding tissue, dramatically reduces the chances of the cancer returning, and has saved countless lives since it became widely accepted and used.

Prof Heald and Mr Moran, who is a consultant surgeon at Basingstoke hospital and the private BMI The Hampshire Clinic, were joined by guests at the book launch, which was held at The Ark Conference Centre.

Guests included Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Mary Edwards, chairman of the Pelican Cancer Foundation Sir Peter Michael and divisional medical director of HHFT Mr Merv Rees.

British tennis legend Tim Henman, who is Prof Heald’s son-in-law, was also present.

Prof Heald said: “The launch went very well. The book is not going to be a best- seller – it’s too advanced for students – but it will be of interest to surgeons and cancer specialists.

“It is not an exaggeration to say that the technique has been Basingstoke’s most important contribution to the care of cancer patients.

“We have had some fantastic support locally over the years, which has really helped us to promote this technique.”