Hundreds of patients join walk to support GP with rare cancer

Hundreds of patients in Northumberland have come together to show support for their local GP after she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

Patients gather at The Rothbury Practice
Patients gather at The Rothbury Practice

Around 400 people in the town of Rothbury took part in a sponsored walk in aid of the charity Pseudomyxoma Survival - which supports those with pseudomyxoma peritonei and appendix cancer – raising over £8,000 in the name of local GP partner Dr Georgina Morgan.

Dr Morgan, who was diagnosed with stage 4 appendix cancer last summer, has since had to undergo extensive treatment for her condition, and her colleagues at The Rothbury Practice arranged the walk to help a charity that has given Dr Morgan special support.

The fundraising event, which took place in May, included a three-mile walk for children and a six-mile walk for adults. 'Loads and loads of our patients came out,’ Dr Jane Lothian, a salaried GP at the practice and Northumberland LMC medical secretary, told GPonline.

Show of support

Dr Lothian said. ‘Several hundred patients came out on the day. The local WI came and did a cake stall, the village hall lent tables and chairs, staff turned out - everyone supported it. Many, many colleagues came. It was a great show of support.’

Dr Georgina Morgan described the event as a ‘fantastic day’, adding: ‘The charity Pseudomyxoma Survivor has been a great support to me and I know that the money will help them continue their vital work.’

According to the charity’s website, the cause of pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP) is unknown. It is a rare cancer that generally starts in the appendix and instead of spreading through the bloodstream or lymphatic system - as is the case with other types of cancer - stays contained within the abdomen. Symptoms take a long time to appear and vary widely among patients, which makes the condition very difficult to diagnose.

Symptoms of the condition include:

• Abdominal swelling or an increase in abdominal girth
• Changes in bowel habit
• Loss of appetite
• Pelvic or abdominal pain
• General fatigue
• Bowel irritation

Rare illness

Dr Lothian urged GPs to be more mindful of rare illnesses. 'The medical issue is it is always a difficult thing to pick up, especially with young people and especially with these rare diagnoses,’ she said. ‘Rare diseases tend to be picked up late - GPs need to be very aware of the unusual.'

Dr Lothian added that more funding had been coming in since the fundraiser walk took place. Sam Davidson, senior manager of Northumbria Primary Care, which runs the Rothbury practice, said the team had been ‘overwhelmed' by the generosity of Georgina’s supporters.

Pseudomyxoma Survivor provides emotional support and practical advice, to patients and their families who are affected by pseudomyxoma peritonei and related cancers.

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