A COURAGEOUS grandmother from East Preston, who survived a rare form of cancer, is urging other women to join her in a charity event organised by Cancer Research UK.
Jennifer Brown, of Homelands Avenue, has twice beaten a rare form of nose and sinus cancer, following a diagnosis in 2009 – just months after losing her mother who suffered with breast and lung cancer.
Initially, doctors believed Jennifer, 66, was suffering from hayfever after she started to suffer with sneezing fits.
But following further investigations, it was revealed she in fact had cylindrical cell carcinoma. Jennifer was devastated by the news.
“My instincts told me there was something wrong and that it definitely wasn’t hayfever,” she explained. “I asked for a second opinion with a consultant friend of mine who found a ‘harmless’ papilloma – a small wart – growing inside my nose and subsequently surgically removed it under general anaesthetic.
“I went away thinking it had been a benign irritating little thing which wouldn’t give me any further trouble. But a few days later I got a call from him saying that a histology report had revealed it was a tumour.
“It was a huge shock. Even though I knew it wasn’t hayfever. I hadn’t expected a cancer diagnosis.”
Jennifer, an author and historian, underwent three operations and a course of radiotherapy, and was told she was clear. But 18 months later after undergoing facial reconstruction surgery, she learned the cancer had returned.
“This time I was told it had returned far more aggressively and had spread, crossing tissue type,” said Jennifer. “I couldn’t believe I would have to go through it all again.”
Following further surgery in June, 2012, Jennifer has finally been given the all clear. One of the first things she did to celebrate was to pull on her training shoes and take up her passion for running.
And on October 26, the grandmother-of-one will be taking part in the 5,000m Race for Life Twilight, in Brighton.
Jennifer, along with hundreds of others at the women-only fundraiser, will be sporting a star-patterned ‘onesie’.
“I can’t wait,” she added. “I feel better now than I did 20 years ago. Every single day is a pleasure for me; I wake up jumping out of bed.
“To be told you’ve got cancer twice is a real hammer blow so to hear that you’re in the clear is something I’ll never take for granted.
“It’s for such a good cause. I’m living proof that research into life-saving treatment works.
“Cancer will have to run hard to catch up with me!”
To sponsor Jennifer, see here.
To enter the race, click here or call 0845 600 6050.