A DOCTOR who has dedicated his life to treating patients with blood cancer is returning to work after beating the disease himself.

Dr Salim Shafeek has worked at Worcestershire Royal Hospital for the last 17 years treating patients with different forms of blood cancer.

But in a cruel twist of fate, he was diagnosed with Myeloma – a type of blood cancer - in January this year.

A scan at the hospital he works at revealed his diagnosis, after initially thinking he had a bad back.

Dr Shafeek said: "It started with some pain in my back, an innocuous symptom as is often the case with blood cancers, so when I received the diagnosis it was a shock.

“After a swift diagnosis at Worcestershire Acute hospitals, within 48 hours I was referred to the Centre for Clinical Haematology in Birmingham.”

After receiving four months of intense treatment followed by a stem cell harvest and transplant over the summer, Dr Shafeek was given the news that he was in complete remission.

Dr Shafeek said: “It was a bit of a strange experience to have all of the symptoms and side effects of the treatments I have always prescribed. But I feel I will be better equipped than anyone to empathise with my patients having gone through it myself.

“My perspective towards life has changed and I will spend more time with my family as well. I realised their role fully now, as having a supportive family made my journey and recovery process much easier.”

After his diagnosis, his colleagues from Worcestershire Royal Hospital rallied around to raise more than £12,000 for blood cancer charity Cure Leukaemia.

Dr Shafeek’s son, Faheez has also completed a 300-mile cycle from London to Paris to raise funds for Cure Leukaemia in support of his father.

The medical student hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps, adding: “Medicine runs in the family with my father and grandfather both spending most of their lives treating blood cancer patients.

“However, I never expected that this disease would directly affect my father and his diagnosis came as a great shock to our family. Thankfully, my dad has responded well to treatment and I was only too happy to do my bit to support Cure Leukaemia.”

Dr Shafeek was also the first consultant to treat former England, Crystal Palace and Wolves footballer Geoff Thomas, when he was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) in 2003.