Rebecca has the survival knockout
Teaming up with medics
A West Lothian cancer survivor from Linlithgow has joined forces with a leading Scots cancer scientist to Stand Up To Cancer and help save lives.
Rebecca Scott ( 28), a former pupil at Linlithgow Academy, knows only too well just how crucial new discoveries and breakthroughs are to help people like her survive.
The investment banker was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in May 2017, aged just 27 years old. But now she is cancer free thanks to surgery and hormone therapy treatment.
She was referred to Glasgow Royal Infirmary for tests in March 2017 after visiting her doctor on and off over a number of years about pain in her stomach.
She said: “It was a Tuesday afternoon and I went to appointment alone because I wasn’t expecting bad news. The doctors felt my stomach, then they pulled the curtain round and started talking to each other and I overheard them say ‘oncology.’
“I just went into a state of shock. It was like something out of an advert. I was so upset. They got a nurse in and she was holding my hand and there were three or four of them all sitting around me. It was a bit of an out of body moment, I was thinking ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe this is happening.’”
Blood tests showed Rebecca had a high level of a molecule called CA125. Women with ovarian cancer tend to have higher levels of CA125 in their blood than women who don’t have the disease.
She was admitted to Glasgow Royal Infirmary for surgery to remove her ovary on April 26, 2017. A week later, on May 3, 2017, doctors confirmed she had Stage 2 low- grade serous ovarian cancer, a relatively rare type of the disease that is slow-growing.
Rebecca’s second surgery took place on June 22, 2017, then doctors recommended a course of chemotherapy.
But Rebecca had done her own research and read that chemotherapy had a poor success rate for her type of cancer, so she requested a second opinion.
She said: “I wasn’t particularly satisfied with the success rate of chemotherapy. I saw a couple of different consultants, did a lot of reading and ultimately decided not to get chemotherapy but to take a hormonal treatment called letrozole. It’s a breast cancer drug, but it has shown good results in small studies for ovarian cancer.”
Cancer Research UK played a crucial role in the underpinning research that led to the development of letrozole and helped prove its benefit in treating ovarian cancer through clinical trials.
Just over a year later, Rebecca is cancer free and doing well.
She wants to raise awareness of the signs of ovarian cancer, especially in younger women, and share her story to help other young women with the disease to feel less isolated.
Rebecca said: “If you have persistent symptoms, push for answers and don’t accept a vague diagnosis if you feel you know something is wrong. Listen to your body, pay attention to changes and don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion.”
Now Rebecca is taking a stand against the disease that threatened her life – together with Dr Seth Coffelt, a scientist at the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute in Glasgow.
Dr Coffelt and his team are working to understand how ovarian cancer manipulates different types of immune cells in the body.
Rebecca and Dr Coffelt are urging Scots to join them and Stand Up To Cancer, to support life-saving research.
Stand Up To Cancer unites scientists, celebrities and communities. It’s supported by a host of stars including Davina McCall, Edith Bowman, Alan Carr, Joel Dommett and Kirsty Allsopp.
Money raised for Stand Up To Cancer helps take developments from the lab and transform them, quickly, into brand new tests and treatments for cancer patients.
Dr Coffelt said: “Research is cancer’s number one enemy. Stand Up To Cancer helps fund clinical trials and research projects which pack a punch in the fight against the disease.
“This research is crucial, but also very expensive. That’s why I’m calling on Scots to get fighting fit and help doctors and scientists speed through breakthroughs for the benefit of cancer patients across the country.”
Since it was launched in the UK in 2012, Stand Up To Cancer has raised over £38 million to support life-saving research.
Dr Victoria Steven, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Scotland, said: “It’s time to make a stand and get payback on cancer for all the people whose lives have been cut short by this devastating disease.
“There are lots of fun ways to join the fight. You can get creative in the kitchen, get sponsored to stand out in orange at work or school or take part in a sponsored wax or head shave. A free fundraising pack is available, full of fun and creative ways to conjure up crucial cash.”
To get involved visit www. standuptocancer.org.uk.
Taking a stand against cancer Rebecca Scott and Dr Seth Coffelt