A 'ROBOTIC' surgeon is cycling 170 miles to help people with head and neck cancers.

Naseem Ghazali and her team perform ground-breaking robotic surgery at Royal Blackburn Hospital to treat cancer patients.

Miss Ghazali has joined seven others in a coast-to-coast bike ride, covering from Bridlington to Blackpool.

While the riders venture on the coast-to-coast journey, members of the public will be riding an exercise bike in The Swallows’ Blackpool shop to reach a target of 177 miles.

It has been organised by Blackpool-based cancer charity 'The Swallows' and aims to raise £25,000 for surgical equipment for head and neck cancer patients at hospitals in Blackpool and Blackburn.

Compared with traditional surgery, robot-assisted surgery reduces disfigurement, discomfort and pain after the procedure.

It also means the surgeon can make smaller incisions and still get a close-up view of hard-to-reach places because the robot includes a 3D camera.

Miss Ghazali said: “Traditionally the treatment would have involved aggressive surgery to split the lip and jaw like a book.

"This invasive surgical approach allows us to gain access to the cancer.

"With the nine-foot high, three-armed robot, which we sometimes affectionately call Leo, you don’t need to do this.

“Leo’s high-definition 3D camera can be magnified 20x, enabling structures to be seen clearly.

"The minimally invasive procedure allows patients to recover quicker, speak and swallow normally almost immediately after surgery."

The Swallows Charity Bike Ride aims to raise £25,000 to help fund more equipment for the robotic system at the Royal Blackburn Hospital.

The ride will also aim to buy a surgical laser for Blackpool Victoria Hospital, enabling surgeons to perform more precision life-changing surgery for people with head and neck cancer.

Miss Ghazali said: “But with a price-tag of £1.5million, not every hospital can afford a robot.

"I’m very lucky to work at Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital because the trust had the vision to invest in the state-of-art robot.

"I’m delighted that the money raised has been ring-fenced for head and neck cancer surgery.

"It will enable me to continue fulfilling our team’s aim of providing head and neck cancer treatments for the people of Lancashire," she added.

Andrew Grice, trustee of The Swallows and Associate Partner at Fylde Wealth Management, said: “As an organisation, The Swallows is dedicated to supporting people with head and neck cancers.

"This bike ride is one way that we are raising awareness and helping to fund the vital new surgical innovations that will improve the outlook for people with these cancers.”

The ride started yesterday (July 25) and finishes on July 27, which is World Head and Neck Cancer Day.

Globally, there are more than 500,000 cases of head and neck cancer and 200,000 related deaths each year.

The day aims to raise greater awareness of the signs and symptoms to look out for, as some of the cases are preventable.