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Major bladder cancer surgery returns to North Wales

21 October, 2020

Major bladder cancer surgery has returned to North Wales following a successful recruitment drive for new surgeons.

New Consultant Urological and Pelvic Oncology Surgeon, Mr Mohamed Abdulmajed, performed the first Cystectomy last month at Ysbyty Gwynedd.

Cystectomy is a surgery to remove the urinary bladder. In men, removing the entire bladder typically includes removal of the prostate and seminal vesicles. In women, radical cystectomy could also involve removal of the uterus, ovaries and part of the vagina.

Patients who require this type of surgery would have previously been sent to hospitals in Liverpool, Manchester, Newport or London for their operation.

Mr Abdulmajed, who took up his role in the Health Board in August, said: “A cystectomy is one of the biggest operations within Urology.

“The surgery can take up to five hours, possibly longer, and may on occasions require the input from other surgeons within other specialities, such as colorectal and gynaecology.

“Patients require life-long follow up care after this kind of surgery.

“By having this surgery available for patients in North Wales means, they are now able to have their surgery closer to their home and have access to the same specialist team who carried out that operation for their future follow-ups.

“This is an exciting time for us in Urology and I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues in shaping our Urology cancer services to benefit our patients in North Wales”.

Gareth Roberts, 73, from Flint was the first person in three years to undergo the procedure at Ysbyty Gwynedd after being told he needed surgery after his bladder cancer returned.

He said: “I was first diagnosed with bladder cancer around two years ago and underwent a course of chemotherapy.

“During the summer I went for my check up at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, following my scans and a biopsy they discovered my cancer had returned.

“It was then I was told I would need a cystectomy – the whole process was extremely quick from that point.

“I was aware this type of surgery was carried out outside North Wales so when I was told I was having it at Ysbyty Gwynedd I felt relieved it wouldn’t be too far away.

“I can’t fault the care I have received, everyone has been wonderful, from the surgeon to all the team on the hospital ward, and I think it is fantastic how this surgery is now available in North Wales for people like myself.”

Professor Iqbal Shergill, Clinical Lead for Urology at Wrexham Maelor Hospital and Clinical Director for North Wales Clinical Research Centre, added: “We are really pleased to welcome Mr Abdulmajed to the Urology team in North Wales, and we also have a further two robotic surgeons joining us in early 2021, to help us lead the cystectomy service for bladder cancer patients.

“Mr Abdulmajed was a Wales Trainee of the Year as a junior doctor and has spent over five of the past ten years in training posts at Wrexham Maelor Hospital and North Wales. He is also a key member of the North Wales Clinical Research Centre.

“The service allows patients to have surgery in North Wales, rather than having to travel to Liverpool or Manchester, or even London, as they have been over the past few years.

“We also owe a significant gratitude to senior Bangor Urologist, Mr Ernest Ahiaku, who has been instrumental in his mentoring to date. He has left an excellent legacy for North Wales Urology”.

Mr Kyriacos Alexandrou, BCUHB Clinical Lead for Urology, also welcomed Mr Abdulmajed to the team.

He added: “The recent appointment of  another two Urology Cancer Surgeons will ensure that patients in North Wales will soon be able to receive high quality treatment locally.”