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Biographical entry Cade, Sir Stanford (1895 - 1973)

KBE 1946; CB 1944; MRCS 1917; FRCS 1923; LRCP 1917; MRCP 1941; FRCP 1960; FRCOG 1954; Hon FFR 1950; Hon DSc Brit Columbia 1952; Hon FACS 1955; Hon FRCS Ed 1957; Hon FRCSI 1960.

22 March 1895
St Petersburg
19 September 1973
General surgeon and Radiation oncologist


Stanford Cade was born on 22 March 1895 in St Petersburg. His father was Polish, named Samuel Kadinsky, and Stanford changed his name to Cade by deed poll in 1924. He was sent to school in Antwerp where he matriculated in 1913 and then went to Brussels to commence the study of medicine. In 1914 he joined the Belgian Army and served in the defence of Antwerp. He was later evacuated to Britain, but his knowledge of English was insufficient to enable him to serve in the British Army and so he continued his medical studies at King's College, London, and entered Westminster Hospital Medical School for his clinical work. Such a chequered education might have proved a handicap to many a student, but for Cade it was but the prelude to a phenomenal career.

He qualified with the Conjoint Board Diploma in 1917, and after holding a series of resident appointments at Westminster he obtained the FRCS in 1923. At that time he was greatly influenced by Walter Spencer, Arthur Evans, and Ernest Rock Carling, and even at that early stage in his surgical career he began to take an interest in the treatment of malignant disease with radium, and later with other forms of radiation, an interest which was ultimately to make his name famous the world over. His experience in this specialty provided the material for books and many lectures.

At the Royal College of Surgeons he gave Hunterian Lectures in 1925, 1933 and 1954; an Arris and Gale Lecture in 1926; the Bradshaw Lecture in 1960; and the Hunterian Oration in 1963. He gave the Skinner Lecture to the Faculty of Radiologists in 1948, and was awarded several prizes and other honours, including Fellowships of the Colleges of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Ireland and America, for his outstanding contributions to cancer treatment.

During his most active years his energies were almost equally divided between the Westminster Hospital, which he served as a consultant surgeon from 1924 till his retirement in 1960; the various bodies concerned with radiotherapy including the Radium Institute and Mount Vernon Hospital; and the Royal College of Surgeons. Besides the lectureship already mentioned, he served the College as an examiner, and as a member of the Council from 1949 till 1965, and then as a most effective director of surgical studies, for he was one of the first to appreciate the contribution made by the District General Hospitals to the postgraduate training of young surgeons. His devotion to the College was rightly acknowledged by the award of the honorary gold medal.

At the outbreak of war in 1939 Cade was called up for active service as a Squadron Leader in the RAF and his outstanding surgical ability gained him promotion to the rank of Air Commodore in 1942, and Air Vice Marshal in 1945. His contribution to the efficiency of the Air Force Medical Service was recognized by the award of the CB in 1944 and the KBE in 1946. But his deep interest in the Service did not cease with the end of the war, for he continued his attachment as a civil consultant in surgery till 1965, and then retired with the rank of Honorary Air Commodore. In 1953 he instituted the Lady Cade Medal, in memory of his wife, as an annual award to the medical officer in the RAF who has made a notable advance in medical science in the service; and the joint professorship between the service and the Royal College of Surgeons is named after him.

Stanford Cade was an indefatigable worker, a lucid teacher, skilful not only as an operator but also as a diagnostician, a wise counsellor, and above all a man who generated real affection among his colleagues and friends. His excitable nature sometimes gave rise to outbursts which were misinterpreted as irascible, for he could not tolerate stupidity in opinion and especially in action. As an examiner he was just, and quite helpful to candidates, though he never hesitated to tell them if they were being foolish. His human qualities were a great asset to the Council of the College.

In 1920 he married Margaret Hester, the daughter of William Agate of Paisley, and her tragic death in 1951 was a terrible blow to him. They had three daughters, of whom Irene became attracted to her father's specialty, and was appointed consultant radiotherapist to St Mary's Hospital, Portsmouth. Like her father she gained the Fellowship of the College in 1952. It was therefore natural for Stanford to settle in Southsea after his retirement, and he died there of bronchopneumonia on 19 September 1973.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Brit med J 1973, 4, 54; Lancet 1973, 2, 745; Daily Telegraph 21 September 1973; Brit J Surg 1974, 61, 239-240].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England