A GP looks back at the signs of rare cancer she missed


“What do you think of this?”

The patient was showing me his incisional hernia. 

This man was chronologically elderly but not that old biologically — the sort who look 70 when they are 85. I told him not to worry.

But within a month, he got sick. How were we to twig that the hernia was more obvious now because he had a gigantic tumour in his liver?

So it had happened again. Another patient with a rare neoplasm. Already on my list were a carotid body tumour, ependymoma, liposarcoma, phyllodes breast tumour and cholecystadenoma.