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I was diagnosed, aged 34, with Cancer back in 2005 whilst in the early stages of pregnancy presenting multiple secondary tumours in the liver and lymph glands. At the time there was a diagnostic uncertainty as to the primary, although it was thought to be in the Pancreas and I was given an extremely poor prognosis. Due to the volume of disease in the liver I was told that surgery would not be an option, the Oncologist was blunt to the point that his aim was to keep me ‘well’ for as long as possible.

Determined to continue with the pregnancy (against the advice of the Oncologist at the time) I was given a course of chemotherapy during the mid-trimester. I remained well and was monitored regularly with ultrasounds of my liver under the care of Consultant Brian Stedman, together with regular scans to monitor the baby’s development under the care of Consultant Mathew Coleman.

I gave birth to a small (4lb 70z ) but healthy baby boy in May 2006 by planned caesarean section at 37 weeks as I was advised at the time that I needed to continue with another course of chemotherapy. It was only then that I was able to undergo CT scans in order to diagnose the primary. The volume of disease in the liver had changed very little over the 7 months since diagnosis and although it was always suspected the primary to be in the pancreas it was only after months of scans and continuous monitoring post pregnancy that I was given an accurate diagnosis – Metastatic PNETS (Pancreatic Neuroendocrine tumours).

A year after first being diagnosed with Cancer I now had a confirmed diagnosis and I was told that surgery may be possible under the care of Consultant Surgeon Neil Pearce – my saviour! After 3 rounds of intense, pioneering surgery I was gradually de-bulked of the disease and quite literally given my life back. Treatment has continued over the years including 4 successful cycles of Radio-Nuclide Therapy under the care of Professor Val Lewington at Guy’s Hospital in London.

I am now a proud mother to a 10 year old boy and whilst treatment is on-going it is with great gratitude that as a result of the pioneering work of Mr Pearce and his team, I remain well enough to be part of the PLANETS London to Paris relay team – a real privilege.  Thank you also to my long suffering husband Richard who is supporting me along the way to Paris and has raised a fantastic amount of money for PLANETS to date.

Thanks for reading.
Rachel Burch

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