BSc Manch 1928; MB BS Melbourne 1933; DLO Eng 1940; FRCS Edin 1947.
Cavanagh was educated at Blackburn High School for Girls and the University of Manchester. After going to Australia where she took her medical qualifications, Cavanagh returned to England and rose to become, according to her obituary in the BMJ, probably the most experienced paediatric ear, nose, and throat surgeon in Britain . Cavanagh held positions as senior house surgeon at Manchester Ear Hospital, chief assistant to the aural department at MRI, aural registrar and then consultant at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital and the Duchess of York Hospital for Babies, Manchester. She died on 20 October 1992 aged 84.