Health

The 41-year-old mother is seeking treatment so she can have at least ‘four more weeks’ with her daughter

The 41-year-old mother is seeking treatment so she can have at least ‘four more weeks’ with her daughter

A single mother is raising money for alternative cancer treatment in a bid to add just a few weeks to her life after six failed rounds of chemotherapy.

Rebecca Atton, 41, from Southend, Essex, was otherwise “fit and healthy” when she was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer in December last year.

She has been battling the deadly disease ever since, hoping to extend her life so she can spend more time with her daughter Ava, saying she was ‘devastated’ at the thought of leaving the 10-year-old behind.

In a recent YouTube video, Rebecca revealed that her sixth round of targeted cancer therapy had failed, and the cancer had now spread to her stomach lining and the tumors in her liver had grown in size.

Initially, the 41-year-old hoped her daughter would live into her teenage years, but after several different types of therapy failed, she is prepared to spend thousands on private treatment for just a month to live, and is currently fundraising to pay for it. additional care.

Rebecca Atton, 41, a single mother from Southend, Essex (pictured with her daughter Ava) is suffering from terminal bowel cancer

Rebecca Atton, 41, a single mother from Southend, Essex (pictured with her daughter Ava) is suffering from terminal bowel cancer

10-year-old Ava's mother wants to extend her life so she can spend time with her daughter, family and friends after a third type of treatment failed

10-year-old Ava’s mother wants to extend her life so she can spend time with her daughter, family and friends after a third type of treatment failed

The bank manager had no symptoms other than abdominal pain, which was unusual for her - she sought treatment from a general practitioner and received the shocking news that she had terminal bowel cancer at the age of 40

The bank manager had no symptoms other than abdominal pain, which was unusual for her – she sought treatment from a general practitioner and received the shocking news that she had terminal bowel cancer at the age of 40

Speaking of her prognosis for her fundraising pageOn why she is raising money for alternative therapies, Rebecca said: ‘To be clear, I have less than a 10 per cent chance of surviving five years.

‘I am fully aware that treatment will not cure me. However, it might extend my life.

‘I plan to update this page on my progress and possible treatment options to be transparent about what these funds will be used for.’

In addition to two rounds of chemotherapy, she is currently taking OxyContin, a powerful opioid that is almost twice as strong as morphine, to deal with the excruciating pain she suffers daily.

Speaking in her YouTube video, she said: ‘My consultant wanted to see me after my last treatment, which was round six.

‘I wasn’t feeling well, and as I was going in there, I had chemotherapy. I had to get up, I was sleepy and I went to the oncology department.

Before she found out she had stage four bowel cancer, the full-time working mum led a fairly healthy lifestyle and went to the gym - trying to raise awareness of bowel cancer in younger people as the NHS fitness test is standard against over the age of 60 despite the growing prevalence of the disease in younger people

Before she found out she had stage four bowel cancer, the full-time working mum led a fairly healthy lifestyle and went to the gym – trying to raise awareness of bowel cancer in younger people as the NHS fitness test is standard against over the age of 60 despite the growing prevalence of the disease in younger people

‘I was expecting news but it hurts – I could use a lot of other words to describe it but I’ll use this one – because the treatment didn’t work.’

She continued: ‘My cancer was on the move. The tumors in my liver, which came from the primary site of the intestine, had increased in size and the cancer had spread to the lining of my stomach.

‘Really freaking news. I am on the third line of treatment and that worries me the most, will they tell me after this that there is nothing more they can do for me?

‘I am looking for treatment which will cost £3,000 a month as it is not available on the NHS. My consultant isn’t a big fan, but he might give me another four weeks, so that might be it for me.

‘I’m grateful that people have donated.’

The treatment Rebecca wants to undergo alongside her chemotherapy is called Avastin and it is not available on the NHS. While doctors hold out hope of a cure, the mother of one is determined to try any option.

Avastin is licensed to treat some types of cancer that have spread from where they started, he says NHS.

The Essex mum is hoping her latest line of chemotherapy will give her a few more weeks - as the cancer has spread to her stomach lining and tumors in her liver have enlarged.

The Essex mum is hoping her latest line of chemotherapy will give her a few more weeks – as the cancer has spread to her stomach lining and tumors in her liver have enlarged.

It is licensed and can be prescribed in the UK, but is not approved for use by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), and therefore may not be widely available on the NHS.

Rebecca lets people know what the fundraiser will be used for and says: ‘Even if it gives me another four weeks, it’s another four weeks with my daughter, friends and family.’

Rebecca told FEMAIL earlier this year: ‘The drugs I take make me feel like a space cadet most of the time.

‘Even now my friends can’t believe my diagnosis, my skin looks good, I haven’t lost my hair, I’ve been going to the gym regularly, I quit smoking before I was 40 – but my time is limited and I’m’ I’m aware of this – this will be the last opportunity I will spend with my daughter.

‘Ava and I are very close and her dad was fantastic while I was in treatment, as was her step-mum.

On October 19, Rebecca learned the treatment had failed and her consultant told her the cancer had spread further

On October 19, Rebecca learned the treatment had failed and her consultant told her the cancer had spread further

‘I know she has a strong support network with my family as well.’

The otherwise healthy bank manager did not know that she had an aggressive stage four cancer, and she sought help only after she had a simple stomach ache at the end of last year.

She was shocked to discover she had bowel cancer, and campaigned to lower the age of the NHS fit test, claiming if she had been offered the test at 30, she “wouldn’t be in this position now”.

The fit test, usually offered to people over the age of 60, is a stool sample that tests for signs of bowel cancer.

Due to the increasing number of people aged 25-30 being diagnosed with bowel cancer, countries such as Australia have been urged to lower the standard age on offer, which Rebecca and her family hope will happen in the UK.

What are the signs of bowel cancer?

Bowel, or colorectal, cancer affects the colon, which consists of the colon and rectum.

Such tumors usually develop from precancerous growths, called polyps.

Symptoms include:

  • Bleeding from below
  • Blood in the stool
  • A change in bowel habits that lasts for at least three weeks
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme, unexplained fatigue
  • Abdominal pain

Most cases have no clear cause, however, people are at greater risk if:

  • They have over 50
  • Have a family history of the disease
  • They have a personal history of intestinal polyps
  • Suffer from inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease
  • You lead an unhealthy lifestyle

Treatment usually includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

More than nine out of 10 people with bowel cancer 1. survive five years or more after diagnosis.

This decreases significantly if diagnosed at later stages.

According to Bowel Cancer UK, more than 41,200 people develop bowel cancer every year in the UK.

It affects about 40 per 100,000 adults a year in the U.S., according to the National Cancer Institute.



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