From a ‘dark, scary place’ into the limelight: Hannah’s story

The charity’s new ‘Together We Are Beating Cancer’ advert highlights the heartwarming moments – from big birthdays and anniversary celebrations, to quality time with loved ones – being made possible for people affected by cancer, right now.

Featuring real patients, it demonstrates the power of research and the invaluable impact it can have on people like Hannah.

Hannah said: “When you hear the word ‘cancer’, you don’t know if you’re going to beat it, but I really felt like my cancer had to have a purpose. In my mind I didn’t want to be thinking, ‘Am I going to survive or not?’ Whilst I was still here, I wanted to do something to help other people and I was just so passionate about that.”

As well as personally raising £3,000, Hannah was happy for the charity to film her as she attended an appointment with Dr De La Pena. As one of several cancer patients and survivors demonstrating that they’re living proof of the progress made in research, Hannah can be seen with her mum supportively holding her hand as she finds out how she’s responding to treatment.

The charity’s latest figures show that around 1.2 million deaths have been avoided in the UK since the mid-1980s, due to advances in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Over the last four decades, UK cancer mortality rates have fallen by around a quarter, after peaking in 1985 for men and 1989 for women.

Hannah welcomes the figures and says: “The progress that’s been made means I only had to receive five sessions of radiotherapy instead of 15. I’m also receiving phesgo – an injection of two types of targeted cancer drugs (trastuzumab and pertuzumab) called monoclonal antibodies.”

They work by attaching to proteins (HER2) on or in cancer cells that make them grow or divide. The aim is to stop the cells from growing and kills them. Cancer Research UK contributed to understanding the underlying biology of its target (Her2), supporting the rationale for developing drugs against it.

It’s one of many developments since the 1980s that Dr De La Pena sees benefitting his patients on a daily basis.

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