Julie's Story- Ovarian cancer treatment
Julie, age 65, is being treated at The Royal Marsden for ovarian cancer.
"In 2001 I wasn’t feeling well and had difficulties breathing. I was on holiday in Miami with my daughter when I was taken to hospital and the ovarian cancer was found. I came home and went to hospital immediately. A full hysterectomy was attempted but they said when they went in it was like candy floss. I was very ill at this point.
I was then transferred to The Royal Marsden in 2002 where I was given Taxol and Carboplatin. I then had five years of chemotherapy before I was told the chemotherapy wasn’t working anymore and my only option was a drug trial.
My experience through the drug trial
My first drug trial didn’t work and I had to come off it. In the meantime, in 2007, because I responded so well to Carboplatin, it was thought the cancer might be genetic. I was then genetically tested for BRACA 2 which was positive. This could lead to both ovarian and breast cancer, but I have only got ovarian.
I soon started a second trial drug - Olaparib and I never looked back, until 2014.
I had to have half my liver taken away as a solid tumour was discovered. The dose of Olaparib was doubled after that. In 2016 a tiny bit in my liver was found again which was treated with microwave ablation and CyberKnife radiation treatment.
In 2018 when they found it had spread into my lymph nodes. It was too deep so they couldn’t operate. Because I had responded to CyberKnife so well the first time, I had treatment on it again. To this day, the cancer hasn’t completely gone (I have always had 5-8mm of cancer in me for the past 18 years). I live each day as it comes and do what I can to enjoy myself and my family.
There is hope
I was 47 when I was diagnosed, and I was originally given six weeks to live if the chemo didn’t work. The doctors and nurses are such amazing people. I am so impressed by what this hospital has done for me, I owe The Royal Marsden for the 18 years that they have given me.
Thanks to research, I have been living with ovarian cancer for 18 years and feeling well. The trial drug that is currently keeping me alive also works for people with breast and prostate cancer, if they have the same genetic mutation in their cancer as I have. I am walking proof that we need cancer researchers to work across different types of cancer.
While being under the care of The Royal Marsden I have seen both my children get married and my six grandchildren come into the world. None of this would have been possible without The Royal Marsden. The new Oak Cancer Centre will give other people like me the same gift of life.”