Janet Blackburn (60) was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 and just 2 weeks later her husband, Robin, was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus.
Janet underwent a mastectomy, had her lymph nodes removed, received chemotherapy at Weston Park Hospital and responded well to treatment. Sadly, her husband lost his fight with cancer in 2011 whilst both were receiving treatment simultaneously.
In March 2011, Janet was offered the opportunity to take part in a clinical trial called the D-CARE Study. This involved six sessions of chemotherapy followed by check-ups at the hospital every three months.
D-CARE is a trial in women with breast cancer looking to see if a drug called Denosumab, which is normally used to strengthen and protect the bones from weakening due to osteoporosis or damage from cancers that have spread to the bones, can also help prevent breast cancer from spreading in the first place.
Research Nurse at the Cancer Clinical Trials Centre, Sarah Brown said, “Janet was one of the first patients to sign up to the D-Care study and is still being followed up by the study 6 years after her diagnosis. We are so grateful to Janet and the other patients who sign up to these studies, not only do they often receive new cutting edge medicines first, they also help to improve quality of care and treatment for future patients. Meeting patients like Janet is the best part of my job.”
Since diagnosis and whilst still receiving treatment, Janet has gone on to raise a staggering £22,500 for Weston Park Cancer Charity through various fundraising initiatives and now holds a craft stall every month in the hospital’s main reception area.
Janet said, “The staff at Weston Park Hospital and in particular at the Cancer Clinical Trials Centre have saved my life. Every penny I raise for the cancer charity is a huge thank you from me and a hope that one day I can raise funds to give cancer patients the treatment options that I had.”
To find out more about the Cancer Clinical Trials Centre visit sheffield.ac.uk/oncology/units/co/research/crc.