Re­becca has the sur­vival knock­out

Team­ing up with medics

West Lothian Courier - - News - Staff re­porter

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

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