Alumni Services

Gordon Wishart

Professor Gordon Wishart defied detractors to lead a successful clinical and research career in breast surgery before founding a healthcare company providing cancer screening and diagnostic services.

Name Professor Gordon Wishart
Degree Course MBChB; MD 
Year of Graduation

1983; 1992

Your time at the University

Professor Gordon Wishart

Having attended George Heriot’s School from 1965-1978, I crossed Lauriston Place to Edinburgh Medical School with nine classmates from my school to embark on the first five-year medical course at the University of Edinburgh in 1978. In retrospect, staying at home near the King’s Building University site for the first two years was a mistake, but when I moved into a student flat in Marchmont Street I quickly caught up with University life and played rugby for the University. My flatmate and I developed a great balance of academia, sport and down time and he is now the Professor of Endocrinology in Manchester!

Like my school, I have fantastic memories of my time at medical school, and I now enjoy coming back to Edinburgh with my family as a tourist, and enjoying much of what I took for granted growing up in this amazing city, including my favourite restaurant in Leith, The Kitchin.

Tell us about your experiences since leaving the University

After medical school I trained in surgery in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and I then completed a Cancer Research Campaign Research Fellowship at the CRC Beatson Laboratories in Glasgow in 1989 leading to award of a MD entitled “Aspects of multidrug resistance in breast cancer” from the University of Edinburgh in 1992.

I moved to Cambridge in 1998 to develop the breast unit at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, now known as the Cambridge Breast Unit. As clinical director of the Cambridge Breast Unit (CBU) from 2005-2010 I played a significant role in developing the CBU as a breast centre with a national and international reputation for research and clinical excellence, and I was instrumental in raising £2 million pounds to build the Cambridge Breast Cancer Research Unit in 2008.

I was appointed as Visiting Professor of Cancer Surgery at Anglia Ruskin University School of Medicine in 2008, and in 2009 I led the research team that pioneered and developed the PREDICT breast cancer survival and treatment benefit model. Since its launch in 2010, Predict has helped almost 1,000,000 doctors and patients worldwide decide whether chemotherapy should be prescribed or not and in November 2018 we won the People’s Choice category at the Office of National Statistics’ inaugural Research Excellence Awards. We were also commended for the public benefit and impact that the model has had, both nationally and internationally.

Having had successful clinical and research career, I founded and am now Chief Medical Officer of Check4Cancer, a Cambridge-based healthcare company that provides cancer screening and diagnostic services throughout the UK for insured, corporate and private patients. Check4Cancer was awarded Diagnostic Provider of the Year in 2018 at the prestigious Health Investor Awards for its disruptive approach to delivery of private, rapid-access diagnostic pathways for breast and skin cancer.

Never give up on your goals and ambition. My first surgical mentor told me I would never pass my surgical exams...

Professor Gordon WishartConsultant Breast Surgeon

Alumni wisdom

Never give up on your goals and ambition. My first surgical mentor told me I would never pass my surgical exams, and from then onwards, the oncology fraternity said that breast cancer surgeons would be obsolete by the time I became a consultant! I am still here, and so are many other breast cancer surgeons, so follow your dreams and make the best use of a fantastic university education from your time in Edinburgh.

Related links

PREDICT breast cancer (external link)

Check4Cancer (external link)

Edinburgh Medical School