A TOP consultant was shocked to be diagnosed with the same cancer he has treated in patients for years.

Dr Salim Shafeek was midway through a clinic when he received the devastating news that what he initially thought was a pulled muscle was incurable blood cancer.

The Worcestershire Royal Hospital consultant is now undergoing the same treatment he usually advises for others and says he is battling "worrying thoughts" because of his knowledge of his illness.

He says he is trying to heed the advice he usually gives his patients to remain positive.

Dr Shafeek, clinical director of Haematology and Oncology, said: "Having had back pain in the lower chest region since after Christmas, I initially thought it to be a pulled muscle from exercise in the gym. I never thought it would turn out to be such a serious condition."

The consultant, who has worked at the hospital for 17 years, was told he was suffering from myeloma, a cancer that affects the plasma cells, shortly after having a scan.

He said: "Immediately after the MRI scan I had to see 18 patients on my own which included many myeloma patients, old and new.

"During my clinic the radiologist rang me and gave me the bad news and I had to continue my clinic as there was no one to take over the patients and that was an extremely difficult situation for me."

Dr Shafeek said he was relieved his cancer was one that was highly treatable but added: “Knowing so much about the condition, it was very difficult to control my thought process.

"I have seen well patients and serious side effects over the years. We (have) had excellent responses in low risk and standard risk myeloma.

"I've also had some really difficult cases with very poor life expectancy.

"All these flashbacks kept me worrying and so I was not mentioning it to anyone, including my family, and I put on a brave face."

Dr Shafeek has been treated at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth hospital, since his diagnosis in January, and has so far had an ‘excellent response.’

He has returned to work in a management role to avoid the risk of infection and now his hospital colleagues and former patients have rallied to support him with a fundraising walk on the Malvern Hills.

They will walk eight miles for charity Cure Leukaemia, a charity Dr Shafeek has worked closely with during his career.

Nurses, who work alongside Dr Shafeek on the hospital's Rowan suite for haematology and oncology, said: “It was an immense shock to hear of Dr Shafeek’s diagnosis.

"He has dedicated so much of his life to looking after patients with blood cancer. He is facing his treatment with strength and dignity and we admire him enormously.”

Former patient, Jenna Ostrowski, 35, received her leukaemia diagnosis from Dr Shafeek in 2017.

She said: “It is hard to believe that someone who has helped so many people overcome blood cancer can suddenly be in this position themselves.”

Dr Shafeek said: “Cure Leukaemia has been closely involved with us in Worcester for years, funding our trials nursing team and helping us to put patients into clinical trials.

He added: “It is so touching that my colleagues are doing this walk in support of me and for a fantastic charity.

“The support from my family, colleagues, friends, former patients and the general public has been overwhelming; and I am immensely grateful.”

The group’s target is £1,000 and anyone is welcome to join them on ‘The Rowan Ramble’ which takes place on May 25.

To donate or take part visit www.justgiving.com/companyteams/rowanramble