Everyday researchers across the UK are working tirelessly towards better treatments and, eventually, a cure.
“Like most 15-year-olds, I thought that cancer was something that happened to older people.
I had certainly never heard of sarcoma cancer. That all changed when I was diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma in my stomach.
The surgeons removed the large tumour, taking two-thirds of my stomach with it. I recovered well and it wasn’t long before I was eating as normal and was back at school, studying for my GCSEs. All thanks to the wonders of modern medicine and some expert surgeons.
The following year, a checkup revealed new tumours in my lung and stomach which were more difficult to locate and remove. Luckily for me there was a new chemotherapy drug, Glivec, which my specialists decided to try. The new chemotherapy blocked the specific signals that were triggering the tumours to grow.
Five years on since my diagnosis and another operation to remove the tumour, I have more welcome news – I’m pregnant! I am looking forward to welcoming my first child into the world this Christmas.
I’m here because of wonderful researchers and consultants, whose amazing work meant I could access the newest and most effective treatments. I am living life to the full, although living with the uncertainties that go with this rare form of cancer.”
Glivec, or imatinib as it is also called, was discovered in a laboratory research programme and was found initially to benefit patients with a type of leukaemia. The breakthrough for patients with Pippa’s type of sarcoma, gastrointestinal stromal tumour, came in 2000. Since then, thousands of patients have been treated successfully with the drug. Unfortunately, Glivec doesn’t always work for everyone and that’s why the search continues for new drugs.
Researchers have more breakthroughs to make before people like Pippa (and others affected by sarcoma) can stop living with uncertainty. With your help, huge advances have already been made, but we still have many unanswered questions about sarcoma.
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