I was diagnosed with breast cancer
in September 2004
at Worthing Hospital in West Sussex.
I found a lump in my left breast,
it was very near my nipple.
It was a fast-growing cancer. Within
one year, I had two very large tumours
that had spread to my lymph nodes
shown signs of going into my bloodstream
which meant that there was quite
a high chance that the cancer cells
would go to my lungs or my bones,
my brain, my liver,
and I found that quite hard
to deal with.
My consultant said that at that
I had a 40% chance of survival
over five years, which, at the time,
didn't seem so good.
So he suggested
that there was a clinical trial
taking place over a period of years,
needing 3,000 women to test new
for breast cancer,
using drugs that had been widely
available in the Americas,
but were not used here, that could
be used as part of a clinical trial.
And he felt they were my best chance
survival, and would lengthen my odds.
I was told about two weeks later
that I'd been accepted
on the full research treatment.
Again at that time I didn't really
what it meant,
but I was very grateful
that I felt I was getting all the drugs
that would give me
my best chance of survival,
and that under the clinical trial,
I would be looked after,
kept an eye on, I felt safe.
It was explained to me
that the clinical trial
would use the standard drugs at the
that were available in 2004/2005
for women with early stage breast
in Great Britain.
But also, that the clinical trial,
was the Tango trial, would also use,
in the later cycles of chemotherapy,
a drug that was freely available in
Americas but was not available here,
but had shown a great success for
with early stage breast cancer.
I was actually looking at
12 chemotherapy sessions
because I was on the full treatment,
over a period of six months.
I was frightened about the 12 chemos.
It did seem rather a lot
to contend with.
everything was explained to me.
If I felt it was too much for me,
then I could have withdrawn at any time.
I had the best possible treatment,
I know I did.
I was always sure
with the clinical trial
that there was always somebody
at the end of the phone.
Sometimes, if I didn't feel well,
I would ring the oncology nurse.
Sometimes I'd have to ring up the
doctor, and he always had time for me.
I felt that was a really good
I would say to anybody,
don't be afraid of a clinical trial,
you've got to weigh it up yourself,
decide what is best for you.
I have been signed off
from the breast cancer care unit.
I was absolutely gobsmacked!
We came out and cracked open a
of champagne. I was absolutely in tears.
It still makes me cry.
Here I am, six years down the line,
and it's OK. And I feel safe.
I found the clinical trial made me
safer about the whole thing.
I say give it a go.
If you've been offered one, take it.