From disc jockey to breast surgeon
Mike Dixon is head of the Edinburgh Breast Unit, which treats 750 cases a year of women with newly diagnosed breast cancers. He is a consultant surgeon and a lecturer in surgery. He has published more than 200 papers and written or edited more than 15 books. He was the editor of the journal Breast, from its inception in 1992 to 2001, and was on the editorial board of the BMJ. Xanthe Barkla and Timothy Brock caught up with him
At medical school I was always interested in surgery, and I was fascinated by breast pathology in my intercalated year. However, the main reason was that I was inspired by my enigmatic surgical teachers, who were all larger than life characters. They exuded eccentricity in a way not regularly seen these days, and my personality traits were similar to theirs.
The need for role models is extremely important in making a career decision. After I left medical school I was heavily influenced by two eminent professors in pathology and breast surgery, David Page and Sir Patrick Forrest. I did a year of pathology in my second year after qualification, followed by a senior house officer job in breast surgery. I loved it. From then on I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my career.
The number of patients. Although it allows you to enter a lot