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Tributes paid to pioneering cancer specialist Professor Mo Keshtgar

'He was such a fantastic colleague and the patients adored him - he was the most polite and charming gentleman'

22 January, 2018 — By Helen Chapman

Professor Keshtgar’s friends and family at Friday’s memorial service: Dr Asma Keshtgar, Mr Soroosh Keshtgar, Royal Free chief operating officer Dr Kate Slemeck, Mr Muhamed Al-Dubaisi, Reza Keshtgar, Professor Keshtgar’s wife Mariam Keshtgar Barzgar, Dr Safoora Keshtgar, Ellahe Keshtgar, Dr Sarah Neale and Kaveh Shakib

TRIBUTES have been paid to a cancer specialist doctor who helped patients at the Royal Free for more than a decade.

Professor Mo Keshtgar, who became the first surgeon in the UK to perform keyhole surgery to treat breast cancer in 2007, was remembered by relatives, friends and colleagues on Friday afternoon during a memorial service at the Hampstead hospital. He died aged 55 in November.

Dr Kaveh Shakib, a surgeon who trained with Professor Keshtgar, told the gathering: “Whatever he did for his patients was never good enough for him – he would always look at the grand picture and keep working to do more. He was an olympian doctor. He was very sharp, very focused and extremely diligent.”

Professor Mo Keshtgar

Professor Keshtgar’s daughters have followed him into the world of healthcare: 25-year-old Safoora is undertaking her dental core training at the Royal Free, and Asma, 26, is also completing her DCT at University College London Hospital, another of her father’s former workplaces.

“Both of us were inspired by our dad,” said Asma. “He would come home from work content with how he spent his day caring for patients and improving people’s quality of life.”

Their brother Soroosh, 27, has just completed his MA in aerospace engineering. Professor Keshtgar had pioneered research into “photodynamic therapy” where cancer cells are made sensitive to light and then targeted by a beam of light. He raised more than £110,000 to support his research when he ran the London Marathon five years ago. Another project saw him work with a team of experts to produce a cookbook specially designed for people living with breast cancer. The Breast Cancer Cookbook features more than 100 recipes and dietary advice based on medical and scientific research.

Tricia Mitchell-Edwards, Jackie Newby and Tina Kelleher, former colleagues of Professor Mo Keshtgar at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead

Jackie Newby, an oncologist who worked with Professor Keshtgar for 15 years, said: “He had that absolute energy to drive an idea into reality. He would start a project and see it all the way through the process. If he was running out of funds for a trial, what would he do? He runs the marathon. He would go beyond that call of duty for things that encapsulate him.”

Tina Kelleher, a lead nurse at the Royal Free, in Pond Street, said: “He was such a fantastic colleague and the patients adored him. He was the most polite and charming gentleman. He had a huge sense of humour. I don’t think I stopped laughing the whole time I worked with him.”

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