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My father was an Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon and was one of the early pioneers in microscopic ear surgery in the 1950s and 1960s. I obviously thought he was doing an interesting job and apparently at the age of 4 years I announced that I wanted to be a surgeon like him.

Training and Clinical Experience

Peter Rhŷs Evans was educated at Ampleforth College in Yorkshire and in 1971, like his father before him, he qualified as a doctor from St. Bartholomew’s Medical School (Bart’s). Following his basic training as a House Surgeon at Bart’s, he then trained in Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in London and Birmingham.

At that time, treatment for head and neck cancer was mainly with radiotherapy, and surgical reconstruction had not really changed over 50 years. However, new techniques were being introduced from Europe and America and he decided to spend a year from 1980-1981 as a Resident Surgeon at the Gustave-Roussy Cancer Institute in Paris while studying for a postgraduate degree in Head and Neck Cancer Surgery and Oncology at the University of Paris, gaining a unique French qualification for a UK graduate. It was also a good excuse to live in Paris for a year!

On his return in 1981 he was appointed Consultant ENT surgeon at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and Senior Lecturer at the University. The following year he was awarded the Lionel Colldege Fellowship from the Royal College of Surgeons to spend time in America studying head and neck reconstructive techniques, including voice and swallowing restoration following total laryngectomy (removal of the voice box for cancer).

During his time in Birmingham he continued with his research projects, pioneering developments in reconstructive surgery in the Head & neck and designing instruments for the newly introduced Carbon Dioxide laser for microsurgery of the throat and voice box. He also did important research in nasal surgery and was involved in the team who discovered the previously unexplained mechanism of sensory transduction in the inner ear, which demonstrated the final pathway of how sound and balance stimulation of the inner ear resulted in nerve activity sending signals to the brain.

In 1986, he was invited to take on the post of Chief of ENT/Head and Neck Surgery at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, where he remained in post until 2016. He is also Honorary Civilian Consultant to the Royal Navy and has been Visiting Consultant ENT Surgeon to Gibraltar for 20 years. He was an examiner for the Royal College of Surgeons for 12 years and Assistant Editor of the Journal of Laryngology and Otology for 9 years.

Apart from his general ear, nose and throat practice, his special interests are in swallowing and voice problems, the treatment of thyroid and salivary gland disorders, including goitres and other benign and malignant tumours, and other lumps in the neck. Currently he is involved with developing new robotic surgical techniques for treating throat cancers.


With over 200 scientific publications including six books, he has been an active contributor to the specialty. Peter’s award-winning 32 chapter textbook, Principles and Practice of Head and Neck Surgery and Oncology, first published in 2003, won a prestigious prize from the University of London for the best international publication in Otolaryngology during the preceding five years. A second edition of this textbook was published in 2009.

He has presented over 320 major lectures in 26 different countries worldwide, and is a member of various international societies and committees, which reflect Peter’s valued reputation in his specialty. He has also been listed in The Good Doctor Guide since 1994.

Charity and Voluntary Work

He has been pleased to work as Honorary Consultant Surgeon for St. Luke’s Hospital for the Clergy for a number of years and is a member of their Medical Advisory Committee.

Peter Rhys Evans is Founder and Executive Chairman of Oracle Cancer Trust which is the largest charity in the UK raising funds for head and neck cancer research. Since 2001 he has been responsible for raising over £6 million for this research and, with his colleagues, for establishing a very active research programme.

He is married to Fran, a current school matron, and they live in Sussex with their three children, Olivia and twins, Sophie and James, plus a menagerie of chickens, pigs, ducks, dogs and other animals.


One of his long-term research interests has been in a new theory of Human Evolution. He delivered the prestigious 2017 Arris and Gale Lecture from the Royal College of Surgeons (dating from 1545) on this theory and his new book: The Waterside Ape – An Alternative Account of Human Evolution is due to be published later in 2018.

In 2013 he organised an International Conference on Human Evolution in London with the help of Sir David Attenborough and has been involved in two other programmes with him on this very controversial subject.