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York Cancer Survivor Appeals For Help to Beat Cancer

Cancer Research UK Outdoor ad 2

6:48am 13th February 2013
(Updated 6:53am 13th February 2013)

A York cancer survivor is backing a striking new campaign from Cancer Research UK, which aims to help bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.

Louise Twissell, 47, of Acomb, knows from personal experience just how crucial new discoveries and breakthroughs are to help more people like her survive.


Louise has teamed up with Cancer Research UK to highlight the power of research in beating cancer and encourage people in Yorkshire to get involved.


Every hour, around three people in the region are diagnosed with the disease, according to Cancer Research.*


And with the number of people with cancer set to rise steeply by 2030, the charity has launched an new advertising campaign, which aims to raise money to accelerate its groundbreaking research and bring cures faster.


Cancer Research say it features a series of TV, radio, and print adverts, as well as billboards across the UK, which carry the bold message: “One day we will beat cancer. Help us make it sooner.”


It’s an appeal that Louise, an Emergency Medical Dispatcher with Yorkshire Ambulance Service in York, says she wholeheartedly supports.


Towards the end of September 2009, Louise says started with a cold but by the middle of October her sinuses still felt blocked and she had developed numbness and a tingling sensation on the left side of her face.


After several trips to her GP and the usual treatments for blocked sinuses, Louise says her condition continued to get worse.


Louise, a divorced mum of two grown up children, was then, she tells Minster FM referred to the ENT department at York Hospital where she underwent numerous tests, including scans and biopsies. 


Then just before Christmas, on 17 December, Louise says she was given the devastating news that it was cancer – an undifferentiated sinonasal carcinoma.


Louise says: “I was told this was a rare type of cancer and mine was aggressive and at stage 4.  It had already spread to the base of my skull and by now the tumour had grown so much it was squashing the optic nerve in my left eye.  By this time the vision in my eye was deteriorating daily.”


Louise was told that surgery was not possible and she was referred to a specialist oncologist at St James’s University Hospital in Leeds.  She tells Minster FM taht they decided to give her seven weeks of radical radiotherapy treatment, alongside three intense chemotherapy sessions.


“They told me if that even if the treatment was successful, there was a strong possibility that I would lose my sight.  Also, it could take at least 18 to 24 months before my energy levels would return to normal and that I would probably never work again.


 “I was left totally blind in my left eye, however due to the skill and expertise of my amazing doctors, they were able to save the vision in my right eye.  Thankfully, in July 2010 I was given the all clear and the following January I returned to work part time. 


“I still suffer with numbness and burning to the left side of my face, and my right eye needs daily medication, but I’m not going to let it stop me.”


“I still go for checkups and as mine was a rare type of cancer, my oncologist in Leeds continues to record the effects of my intensive treatment in the hope this can benefit other patients in the future.”


Louise added: “I know from experience that research kills cancer and I consider myself an extremely lucky person. Without the advances in cancer research, I would not like to think where I would be now.


“There are so many success stories like mine that would not be possible without Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work, which in turn relies on everyone who raises money.


“That’s why I’m supporting this vitally important campaign to help Cancer Research UK speed up the advances it is making in the battle against the disease.”


Louise is encouraging more local people to support Cancer Research UK in any way they can, whether it’s making a regular donation, volunteering, or getting involved with an event such as the charity’s flagship Race for Life series.


She added: “I took part in the York Race for Life for the first time in 2009 and I hope to do it again this year.  Even though I still get tired easily, I know I can walk round without any pressure.  It’s a wonderful celebration of life and hope.  It also helps me to give something back, which is very important to me.


“Without research I might not be here today. Now it’s cancer’s turn to be afraid.”


Cancer Research say that more than one in three people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime.  But there is good news, they add, research funded by Cancer Research UK is helping more people to survive than ever before.


Nicki Embleton, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Yorkshire, and herself a cancer survivor, said: “Our campaign aims to show that research is cancer’s enemy. The more research we can do, the sooner we can beat the disease.


“Thanks to the generosity and commitment of our supporters, we’ve helped to double survival rates in the UK in the past 40 years. But there is still so much more to do to ensure that no-one’s life is cut short by cancer.”


She added: “It’s not just technology or knowledge that we need to win our fight against the disease – it’s funding. So we’re calling on everyone in the area to get behind this campaign and help us bring forward the day when all cancers are cured. Every pound raised takes us a step closer to achieving our goal.”


To support Cancer Research UK visit cruk.org


Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, Cancer Research UK say they are able to spend over £8 million in Yorkshire last year on a wide range of research into many types of cancer, supporting the work of doctors, nurses and scientists at hospitals and major universities in the region, including St James’s University Hospital, Leeds.


Cancer Research say that there are lots of different ways people in North Yorkshire can help to raise vital funds and save lives by:


-       Entering and supporting Race for Life events across the county at raceforlife.org

-       Signing up for a sporting challenge such as 10k run, marathon or triathlon.

-       Making a regular monthly donation.

-       Volunteering at a local Cancer Research UK shop.


For more information please visit cruk.org

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