Mildura Weekly : Friday August 7 Vol 9 No 39
12 NEWS MILDURA WEEKLY FRIDAY, AUGUST 7, 2015 By VINNIE RODI RESPECTED, popular Mildura GP Dr Claire Thys is finally back doing what she loves – treating pa- tients! Taking up a position at the Irymple Medical Centre following a nine-month cancer battle, Dr Claire said she was excited to be back helping people. “I’m currently working three mornings a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday), and the aim is to slowly increase the workload as I go,” she said. “I’ve only been back at work for two weeks, and I have to say that just one morning tends to take it out of me! “I’m slowly building back into it, and it’s won- derful to be back doing what I was born to do.” Dr Claire, 54, said that while her battle with a rare form of cancer – neuroendocrine – had taken a recent positive turn, she was by no means com- pletely out of the woods. Found to have several neuroendocrine tu- mours throughout her body – including the liver, pancreas and chest – Dr Claire was forced to shut her Orange Avenue practice in November last year to seek treatment, and at the time was in the fight of her life. Neuroendocrine tumours are rare in the sense that they produce a specific hormone that affects nerves throughout the body, causing extreme dis- comfort. “After first being diagnosed I immediately started chemotherapy, which unfortunately didn’t seem to make a difference,” she said. “In February this year I went to the Peter MacCullum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, and the doctors found that the cancer was very extensive, and that it was all over the top of my abdomen from my pancreas down to my liver. “The whole area was just a big black mass on the screen.” Dr Claire said that by April – close to five months after being diagnosed – doctors decided to try a different approach to combat the disease. “The chemo just wasn’t making a difference, and in April the doctors decided to give me radio- therapy there and then,” she said. “It’s a new form of treatment that is carried out via an IV. “They inject a radioactive product that binds to the cancer cells, and it irradiates them right then and there. The level of radiation is much less, and it doesn’t affect the tissue around the cancer.” Dr Claire said she had been “knocked around for a good 10 days” following that first treatment, with the discomfort proving well worth it. • Continued Page 17 The doctor will see you now... Dr Claire back on the job, but her cancer fight is not over just yet! • FIGHTING ON: Respected GP Dr Claire Thys has turned the corner in her fight against a rare form of cancer, and is back treating patients at the Irymple Medical Centre.
Friday July 31 Vol 9 No 38
Friday August 14 Vol 9 No 40