Jason’s life turned upside down when his wife, Lucy, was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in 2015. She was just 33.
Triple negative breast cancer cannot be treated with targeted drugs commonly used to treat other forms of the disease, leaving these patients with limited options. The options available often have harsh side effects too, making an already difficult time in women’s lives even more painful. Around 15 percent of breast cancers are diagnosed as triple negative – that means over 8,000 women in the UK being told they have this aggressive form of the disease every year.
I had a million questions in my head. Why Lucy?
Lucy never smoked, and rarely drank - that’s why the diagnosis was particularly shocking. However, they soon came to realise that breast cancer is a disease that does not discriminate.
This year, over 55,000 women will be told they have the disease. That’s one woman every 10 minutes.
Lucy and Jason decided to get married. Lucy put all her focus and strength into the wedding, and their beautiful day was the first time she let herself cry since her diagnosis. However, after she reached this target she seemed to get weaker, and they decided to cancel their honeymoon.
Heartbreakingly, after dealing so bravely with the progression of the disease, she passed away at home, just 99 days after her wedding.
Amazingly, Lucy set up fundraising events for us before she died, to help other patients with breast cancer. To keep Lucy’s memory alive, her daughter, Chloe, and Jason continue to fundraise.
I for one will be raising money for Breast Cancer Now for the rest of my life, as I can see the difference they are making, their research is pioneering and I have seen it with my own eyes.
We are funding researchers across the UK to try and find new ways to target triple negative breast cancer, so that we can find new treatments with fewer side effects for everybody affected.
One research project we are funding is run by Professor Claire Lewis. Her team at the University of Sheffield are using experimental models of triple negative breast cancer to find out whether targeting key molecules can prevent or delay the cancer from returning or spreading. This may lead to much needed new treatment options and ultimately improve outcomes for patients with triple negative breast cancer.
As well as this, in the last year our researchers have found a gene in triple negative breast cancer cells that could become a new target for treatment, and have developed an imaging technique that might be able to predict whether triple negative breast cancer will spread to the lungs.
But, we can’t stop now. We urgently need to find more new ways to treat triple negative breast cancer to improve the chances of survival for people, like Lucy, with this form of the disease.