Cancer mum trials drug
PUBLISHED: 13:35 22 September 2006 | UPDATED: 22:15 28 May 2010
A FENLAND mum has been chosen to help trial a cancer drug which could give hope to thousands of other sufferers. Tarceva is already available on the NHS in Scotland, but the rest of the UK will have to wait until next year before it is prescribed. Judith
A FENLAND mum has been chosen to help trial a cancer drug which could give hope to thousands of other sufferers.
Tarceva is already available on the NHS in Scotland, but the rest of the UK will have to wait until next year before it is prescribed.
Judith Smith was given just a year to live after being diagnosed with lung cancer in August 2004 - in the summer she walked a five-kilometre Race for Life.
"I know I have been very lucky to have been given this chance," she said.
Judith, 39, has been taking Tarceva for almost a year and says it has made a big difference to her quality of life. Instead of relying on a wheelchair she can now walk to the shops and join in family activities with her husband and two children.
"It has definitely improved the quality of my life. I feel a lot better in myself and my breathing is better," she said.
"Chemotherapy did shrink the tumour but in a matter of weeks it had grown again. Since I have been taking Tarceva it is still there but it is not getting any bigger."
Judith, of Oxbow Crescent, March, has spoken out before about her illness in a bid to bring lung cancer into the spotlight. She wants to spread the message that it is not just chain-smokers who get the disease.
Judith was a young, fit and a non-smoker when she was told that she had a large malignant tumour on her left lung.
Three weeks after the initial diagnosis she was told the cancer had spread to her bones and she was given a year to live.
Tarceva does have side effects, but Judith says she can cope with them if the drug is giving her time to share with her family.
She said: "It is now coming up to a crucial time. They don't really know what happens after a year. They will provide it for me as long as it is keeping the tumour under control.