Appendix cancer: Woman loses seven organs to rare cancer

The surgery to remove this deadly tumour is performed in only two hospitals in the UK.

A woman, who is recovering from a rare appendix cancer, says she is looking forward to the future. The treatment for the cancer involves the removal of seven of her organs.

Mother of Surgeries

Jackie, a resident of Leeds, was diagnosed with Pseudomyxoma Peritonei, (PMP) in January 2021. The cancer is said to affect one or two people out of a million. Its treatment is highly specialized, with only two hospitals in the UK having the speciality to carry out the operation.

Jackie, who is originally from New Zealand, first experienced pains in her abdomen. The result of an ultrasound scan came as a huge shock to Jackie and her husband, Oliver Beckett. They were told the tumour, found near her ovary, was about 13 cm in size. According to Oliver, this discovery surprised even the medic, as her blood tests came out normal. Oliver said:

PMP is quite a slow-growing, mucinous cancer, so it's hard to say if left undetected how quickly the cancer would have grown, but it's fair to say that she caught it early before it had the chance to spread which means she's been able to return back to full health, whereas many others aren't so lucky.

Typically, the surgery for PMP lasts between eight and 14 hours, and involves removing any affected organs. Hot chemotherapy is then pumped around the abdomen for an hour and a half to destroy any remaining cancer cells. This part of the treatment process, called HIPEC, is so unique that only two hospitals can perform it.

Giving Back

Jackie, an IT consultant, spent eight and a half hours in surgery and had seven organs removed. She made a quick recovery after the operation and has returned to her normal life. Oliver said:

Her stay in hospital was quoted at 10-14 days but she smashed it in nine days and was told to expect six weeks off work but after six months until she was feeling back to normal - she was back at work in four and feeling back to 90 per cent within about three to four months.

A year later, Oliver, a Yorkshire legal specialist, plans to undertake a gruelling 600-mile cycle ride across Europe to raise £10,000 for the Manchester hospital which saved his wife's life. He has already managed to raise £5,000. He believes that the care and attention his wife received at The Christie hospital in Manchester, helped her to beat the disease as quickly as she did.

I cannot thank Christies enough for saving Jackie's life. With Jackie's bravery and superhuman powers of recovery and Christie's care, we were so lucky to celebrate this Christmas with our family, cancer-free and 90 per cent of the way back to full health.
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