Press release posted 29 September 2022
The Christie is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its peritoneal tumour service. These tumours, found in the abdomen, are rare and often require complex treatment. The Christie is 1 of only 2 centres in the UK to treat them.
Over the last 20 years, the team has received 5,153 referrals and carried out 2,077 major surgeries. Clinicians from as far away as Sri Lanka and Pakistan have benefitted from the expertise of the 40-member multidisciplinary team of experts at The Christie.
One of the cancers the team treats is pseudomyxoma peritoneii (PMP). It starts in the lining of the appendix where it produces a jelly-like substance (mucin) that bursts out of the appendix and spreads cells and mucin around the tummy. People with PMP need major surgery to remove the tissue lining in the abdominal cavity (the peritoneum) and involved organs that are at risk of implants from the abnormal cells. Once the surgery has been performed, heated chemotherapy (HIPEC) is introduced into the abdomen to kill any tumour cells that could remain unseen.
Alison McCready, a 68-year-old retired librarian from Wilmslow in Cheshire was the first PMP patient to be treated at The Christie. She is now cancer free and her children, who were 13, 17 and 19 at the time, now have 5 children of their own.
She says: “My cancer was initially misdiagnosed as ovarian cancer. I had chemotherapy, which didn’t work, and was then referred to The Christie where I got my PMP diagnosis. I feel incredibly lucky to live so close to one of the only places in the country that offers treatment for my type of cancer. Thanks to Professor O’Dwyer and her team, I was able to see my children grow up and have children of their own. I am eternally grateful for everything they’ve done and wish them all the best for the next 20 years and beyond.”
In addition to treating patients, the team is at the forefront of research into peritoneal tumours that arise from the appendix, other areas of the bowel and the ovary. They currently have £5m in active grants and run an international collaborative translational research programme with dedicated laboratory facilities at the Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC).
Professor Sarah O’Dwyer joined The Christie as a consultant surgeon in 1995 and was responsible for establishing the service over 20 years ago. She says: “These tumours are rare and the treatment is complex. Many patients remain undiagnosed or receive incorrect and inadequate treatment before their medical teams realise that they may have these rare cancers. Here at The Christie, we not only have the expertise and technology to treat these patients today, but we’re also doing research that will benefit patients in the future. We are privileged to be in a position to make a difference to these patients and their families.”
For more information, you can read a blog from the peritoneal tumour service about their 20th anniversary.