Anna finally gets her happy, Christmas at home
When Anna Panter fell pregnant, she and husband Adam were over the moon. They started planning, closed the pub they were running, bought a new home and began to prepare to for their life as parents.
But at her 12-week scan, Anna was told that she had lost one of the twins she had conceived. Although Anna displayed some symptoms, such as breathing difficulties, headaches and distorted vision, it was believed at the time that this was just a difficult pregnancy.
“When Anna lost one of her babies something called a molar pregnancy had occurred”, explains Dr. Victoria Parker of Weston Park Cancer Centre. “This is when the cells from the foetus grow into abnormal cells in the placenta. In Anna’s case, it was when Lydia was born and tests were carried out, that she was diagnosed with choriocarcinoma and referred to Weston Park Hospital. Sadly, Anna’s cancer had spread to her brain and lungs”
The Sheffield Trophoblastic Disease Centre at Weston Park Cancer Centre leads the world in the research of gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD), which led to Anna’s cancer. Anna contributed to ground-breaking research by Dr Parker that will help to increase understanding of symptoms, how patients are diagnosed and treated. It looks at a patient’s microRNA – a bit like our DNA – taken from a simple blood test, that in the future may make diagnosis quicker and easier and allow specialists to personalise treatment so it’s more likely to be effective.
Dr Parker’s research has been funded by Weston Park Cancer Charity, which raises over £2million each year to enhance care, fund life-saving trials and research and deliver support to cancer patients and families. “It’s perhaps not well known that some of our funds go into research”, says Helen Gentle, deputy director of fundraising for the charity, “but it’s central to what we do. We work closely with our medical colleagues to support vital research right here in Sheffield that in some cases can change the way cancer is treated across the world. In this case, research so experimental might not have been funded by the bigger cancer research charities. We’re thrilled to be able to make such essential work possible.”
Anna, her husband Adam and daughter Lydia are looking forward to Christmas. “Last year, I was allowed home for two days between treatment but I was so poorly with the side effects of chemotherapy. This year, I’ll enjoy every moment of spending time with Adam and Lydia. Having them got me through – I’ve got them, so I got through.”
“Weston Park was amazing”, continues Anna. “I’m full of love and admiration for them and what they did for me and do every day for others. The more Weston Park Cancer Charity funds research to understand this rare cancer, the more women will get to look forward to Christmas with their families, and the more children will get to keep their mums.”
Anna has bravely shared her story as part of Weston Park Cancer Charity’s Christmas Star Appeal, sponsored by Napoleons. You can give a Christmas donation to Weston Park Cancer Charity, helping us fund more life-saving and life-changing research and trials. Donate today. Thank you.