Terminally-ill Leeds doctor back on hospital wards

ON DUTY: Dr Kate Granger at work in Pinderfields Hospital with staff nurse Steph Tempest.
ON DUTY: Dr Kate Granger at work in Pinderfields Hospital with staff nurse Steph Tempest.
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A terminally-ill doctor has told movingly of her heartbreaking decision to stop having chemotherapy for her one-in-two million cancer.

Despite her illness, 30-year-old Dr Kate Granger has gone back to work caring for older people at a West Yorkshire hospital.

And she is to leave a lasting legacy after writing a book detailing her experiences of treatment.

She hopes the searingly honest account, called The Other Side, will help doctors better understand their patients. Sales have so far raised nearly £5,000 for the Yorkshire Cancer Centre in Leeds.

Dr Granger, from East Ardsley, said: “I think I was a good doctor before but these observations have made me a much better doctor. Over the last couple of months I’ve had some tough cases and I have got more empathy. That’s one of the aims of the book.”

Dr Granger, a registrar in elderly medicine at Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield, was taken ill on holiday in the United States last summer.

She has been treated at the Yorkshire Cancer Centre, the Bexley Wing at St James’s Hospital in Leeds.

Medics originally thought she was suffering from ovarian cancer, but tests eventually showed it was desmoplastic small round cell tumour, known as DSRCT. The aggressive disease affects just one in two million people, usually children and teenagers.

Dr Granger underwent chemotherapy for four months last year, but was terribly unwell.

She explains in her book how she decided on New Year’s Eve not to have any more treatment.

The doctor told the YEP: “I had just got to the point where the burden of chemotherapy was outweighing any benefit it was giving me. Three weeks after I made the decision, I was back at work.

“I am very matter of fact about dying and death. I think the quality of your life is much more important than the quantity.”

Now she has got a “rapidly-expanding” ‘bucket list’ of things she would like to do. Her husband Chris, 34, recently took her for a five-star break to London and the couple are to renew their wedding vows next month, while she is busy seeing family and friends.

Having a book published and charity fundraising were on her list – though she said she expected the book to be a medical textbook.

Almost 700 copies of The Other Side have been sold so far, with all proceeds going to the cancer centre.

Meanwhile Chris is raising cash too. The supply chain manager in the Fresh Foods Supply Team at Asda’s head office in Leeds nominated the charity for his team to support for a year.

Colleagues are now planning how to help the charity’s annual gala day and organising in-house fundraising events, with a raffle of signed Leeds Rhinos balls having raised £500.

He said: “Asda have been amazing with me, given me whatever time off I needed and changed my role to suit my needs.”


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