Mr Cavanagh was born and educated in Liverpool. He came to Yorkshire in 1986, and trained as a doctor in Leeds and underwent surgical training around Yorkshire.
He has a busy vascular surgical practice, undertaking all types of arterial and venous surgery. He has a particular interest in carotoid, aortic and lower limb arterial surgery including endovascular aneurysm repair. He is also interested in venous disease and undertakes the full range of treatment options for venous disease including minimally invasive techniques.
His NHS workload includes the York and Harrogate areas. He is actively involved in undergradualte and postgraduate education and runs the Royal College of Surgeons of England Care of the Criticall Ill Surgical Patient Course in York.