Dr Rebecca is keeping me on the straight and narrow

Colin Wilkins with consultant clinical oncologist Dr Rebecca Muirhead

Colin Wilkins with consultant clinical oncologist Dr Rebecca Muirhead

First published in Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering East Oxford and Cowley. Call me on (01865) 425430

DR Rebecca Muirhead has been called a Hospital Hero after she helped bowel cancer patient Colin Wilkins’ through treatment for the disease.

Mr Wilkins has nominated the Churchill Hospital consultant clinical oncologist for our award to honour NHS heroes.

We have teamed up with Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust to honour one outstanding individual and team from the authority.

Wantage’s Mr Wilkins, 80, was diagnosed earlier this year but said he remained hopeful with help from Dr Muirhead.

Mr Wilkins said: “She is caring, professional, has a wonderful personality and is very helpful.

“She’s been looking after me so well. Every time we have gone to see her, she has been very positive and got me on the straight and narrow.”

Mr Wilkins’ tumour was missed in an initial scan but was later noticed as it grew from the size of a fingernail to four centimetres.

He underwent an operation to remove the tumour on February 5 and is currently undergoing his sixth session of chemotherapy.

Every three weeks he sees Dr Muirhead at the Headington hospital’s Oxford Cancer and Haematology Centre.

Wife of 30 years Lesley, 65, said: “She took great time in telling us and convincing us that this is not a death sentence. She put all our fears at bay. When I came out of the doctor’s surgery knowing he had this, I was angry and upset.

“But when we started to see Dr Muirhead, that anger went away and we don’t look back really, we have only ever been positive and looking forward.”

Hospital Heroes nominations close on Friday, September 5 and winners will be revealed during the trust’s annual staff awards in December.

Dr Muirhead said: “I think I am one of many NHS people who try hard to do a good job so on behalf of all of us it’s nice to have it recognised. I’m a tiny fraction of the support that’s available. I think the patients do all the hard work, especially with cancer. They go through some difficult treatments and some difficult times and I think it’s a privilege to be a part of that.”

FACTFILE

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer in the UK

In 2011, more than 110 people were diagnosed with the condition each day

Most cases, 95 per cent, occur in people aged 50 and over and half of patients diagnosed with bowel cancer will survive the condition for at least ten years

The initial symptoms of bowel cancer can include blood in stools, bleeding from the rectum, a change in normal bowel habits, abdominal pain and unexplained weight loss.

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