Mountain challenge raises funds for GI cancer research
While most of us take some time out over the festive holiday period, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) medical oncologist Matthew Burge will be taking on the biggest physical and emotional challenge of his life.
Just days after Christmas Dr Burge will begin a three week-ascent of the massive 6960-metre Aconcagua in Argentina – the highest peak outside of the Himalaya.
And he’s doing it all for his patients with gastro-intestinal (GI) cancers, such as bowel, stomach and pancreatic cancers.
GI cancers are the most common cancers, claiming one Australian life every 45 minutes, yet they don’t share the high profile of other cancers. At RBWH Cancer Care Services almost 100 cases of GI cancer are diagnosed each month.
Having witnessed the devastation these cancers cause, Dr Burge is prepared to put his mental and physical capacity to the limit in the hope of improving research breakthroughs and improved quality of life for his patients.
“The prognosis for patients diagnosed with GI cancer is not good and the treatments can be very demanding,” Dr Burge said.
“Although we have seen advances in the treatment of other cancers like melanoma and lung cancer in the past few years, in particular treatments that can boost the immune system these improvements have largely bypassed GI cancers.
“Additional research funding will help us refine current treatments and investigate new treatment options to give patients hope and more chance of beating these devastating cancers.
“Aconcagua will be tough. It will be very cold, hard and challenging climb but the experience will be nothing compared to what my patients go through. “They are a great source of inspiration to me.”
Dr Burge is a member of the Australasian Gastro-Intestinal Trials Group (AGITG) and all funds raised by his Aconcagua Gutsy Challenge team will support vital research into these very complex cancers.
If you’d like to help him conquer GI cancer, you can donate at: https://donate.grassrootz.com/gicancer/the-aconcagua-gutsy-challenge/matt