AS a city GP, Catharine Benson sees dozens of cancer patients every year and her family has also been affected by the disease.

So the Beaumont Street doctor will have plenty to draw on when she sets off for a 100-mile cycle for Macmillan Cancer Support tomorrow.

The charity funds health professionals like nurses, builds cancer care centres and provides support and advice.

The 52-year-old GP said: “When you see a patient throughout cancer treatment it’s quite satisfying to see them beat the disease. Macmillan do a fantastic job helping patients and catering to their needs.

“GPs often work very closely with Macmillan to help patients when they need it most so I’ve seen how important their job is.”

Dr Benson lost father Gilbert to Hodgkin’s lymphoma when she was an infant and her mother survived the same disease with help from Macmillan a decade ago.

She said: “When my father died from cancer he was just 27 and my mother told me there was just no support in those days for the families of patients.

“The advances in medical technology and the support given to patients meant my mother could survive the disease, which wasn’t treatable when my father had it.

“Having been through the experience myself I know how important it is for families to have support as well as patients themselves.”

She will ride in the amateur section of tomorrow’s Prudential Ride London with 24,000 other cylicsts.

It will go from Olympic Park through Surrey and Wimbledon before finishing on The Mall outside Buckingham Palace.

She said: “If someone suddenly starts coming to visit me having never been before or if I see a longstanding patient suddenly lose weight when they haven’t been able to before it sets warning bells ringing. That’s why it’s so important that there’s continuity of care and we see the same patients regularly.

“It also builds a strong bond between doctors and patients and you have to be careful not to let emotion take over. At the end of the day it’s about the patient, not the doctor.”


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