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How Jacky has lived with cancer for 25 years and is helping others to survive

Jacky has lived with cancer for more than 25 years, following her first diagnosis in 1994.

And it is these experiences that have led her to pledge money in her Will to Cancer Research UK so the charity can continue its life-saving work.

Jacky, from Lincolnshire, was first diagnosed with cancer in 1994 aged 52 and said: “I have had quite a journey with cancer over the last 25 years. The drugs, together with my treatments have given me a better quality of life. Of course, I still worry about cancer and I have check-ups every four months.

“It started in 1994, at the age of 52. I received a letter inviting me to have a routine mammogram as part of the breast cancer screening programme. I decided to go before work as I wanted to get it over and done with.

“After the appointment I was called back as they had found something in my right breast. I had a biopsy and I had to have a lumpectomy. This happened over the course of four or five months.”

To find out how you can help Cancer Research UK and get your free Gifts in Wills guide click here

Jacky has made a Gift in her Will to Cancer Research to help vital work in combatting the disease

In February 1995, Jacky was told to go for a follow up mammogram and it was during this appointment that cancer was found in her left breast.

“I was told I needed to have a mastectomy,” she said. “This was a traumatic time, whatever the doctors said I went along with as I knew they knew best. I eventually decided to have a reconstruction which was fantastic.

“However, when I went back to see my plastic surgeon for a follow up appointment. He noticed a mark above my breasts which turned out to be a malignant skin cancer. I had that removed. I have been unfortunate to have one in later years on the left of my face.

“In June 1996 I went for another check-up for my breast cancer and they found a lump under my right arm which initially they were worried was secondary breast cancer, in the end I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. What followed was constant check-ups on my Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.”

Gifts in Wills are essential to continue researching new potential treatments
Gifts in Wills are essential to continue researching new potential treatments

Seven years ago, Jacky’s dentist discovered an issue on the roof of her mouth. She went for further check-ups and found the cancer was in her stomach and throat.

“I was told that I would need chemotherapy. I had the most amazing doctor who is now a Professor. He was incredibly supportive throughout the whole experience. It was he who suggested that I try Rituximab. I then had 12 doses of this over two years dispensed every two months. I finished this treatment in January 2015,” said Jacky.

“The drug worked well. It reduced my cancer and made the cancer much less invasive. For this drug I have Cancer Research UK to thank. Most people I know said the worst part about cancer is momentarily losing control of your own lifestyle. Rituximab helped me take back some of that control.

“I thought I was going to lose my life, but that drug has given me my life back and has given me a better quality of my life for the last five years. I want to help people who are in a similar situation to me. I want to leave a gift in my Will to Cancer Research UK to give other people the same chance I have had to live a with a better quality of life.”

To find out how you can help Cancer Research UK and to get your free Gifts in Wills guide click here:

Breakthrough hope for breast, bowel and lung cancer

Important work that is being funded through Cancer Research UK Gift in Wills includes a project being undertaken by Professor Jacqui Shaw, who works in translational research at the University of Leicester.

Professor Saw is developing new tests and technologies that are helpful to patients with cancer in many ways.

I work in a field called liquid biopsies,” she said. ” We are developing blood-based tests for a number of common cancers including breast, bowel and lung cancer,” she said.

“Here in Leicester, we mostly work on breast cancer. We are looking at ways to detect cancer through blood tests and monitor it over time, for example we have recently used blood tests to show that the breast cancer coming back and we can also see how a patient is responding to their treatment.

“We hope that this type of technology will be implemented in the NHS in the future to help with routine care.”

Professor Jacqui Shaw works in translational research at the University of Leicester

Professor Shaw said funding from Cancer Research UK was essential to the work she does, adding: “The programme grant funding I receive from Cancer Research UK has allowed me to develop and maintain an experienced team of scientists, as well as strong relationships and collaborations with other Centres to drive our research forward.

“The funding is critical to what we do. There simply isn’t another funder that would give us the same opportunity with the same level of funding enabling us to accelerate this important area of translational research for the benefit of patients with cancer,” she said.

Professor Shaw added: “Professionally, it’s really important that we respect an individual’s decision to donate. We are very grateful and appreciate all donations kindly given that enable us to progress our research.

“Personally speaking, most people’s lives are touched by cancer and knowing people wish to donate through their Will is an important motivator to myself and my research group. We all think about people’s wishes and contributions.”

To find out how you can help Cancer Research UK and to get your free Gifts in Wills guide click here:

Together we will beat cancer.