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Full report: Cancer patient kept "in the dark" to help research

Irene Williams in a balaclava, hat and sunglasses to protect her. Credit: ITV News

This is how Irene Williams has appeared to the world for the last month.

Wrapped in a balaclava and wearing dark glasses whenever she's ventured out of her home.

Irene has inoperable bile duct cancer and is being treated by specialists at Aintree University hospital.

The drug she's been taking is light sensitive, so keeping away from sunlight has become the norm.

Patient 'lives in dark' for cancer treatment

A care assistant has become the first person in the world to take part in an international trial of a new cancer treatment.

But the procedure, being pioneered at Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool has meant Irene Williams has had to spend a month away from bright light.

Irene was forced to completely cover her skin Credit: ITV

The drug Irene was given for bile duct cancer is a photosynsthesizer, meaning it would react to daylight.

So Irene was forced to completely cover up when she left the house.

Irene wore dark glasses and a face mask Credit: ITV

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Beating cancer in the dark

A care assistant has become the first person in the world to take part in an international trial of a new cancer treatment.

But the procedure, being pioneered at Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool has meant Irene Williams has had to spend a month away from bright light.

Irene has bile duct cancer and the drug she's been taking is light sensitive, so keeping away from sunlight has become the norm.

Because her condition is inoperable she felt this was her only choice.

Cancer 'super hub' launched in Manchester

A new lung cancer initiative is being launched in Manchester to bring together top researchers in the fight against the disease. A 'centre of excellence' will combine skills from experts at places including the Christie and University of Manchester to come up with new treatments.

Cancer Research UK hope by drawing together world class research and medical expertise, lung cancer patients nationwide will benefit. The Centre will foster strong links with the local community, increasing awareness of the world-class cancer research taking place right on their doorstep.

“We are delighted to have been chosen as Cancer Research UK’s first Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence. By establishing the Centre jointly at Manchester and UCL, we are bringing together internationally renowned expertise across the full spectrum of lung cancer research.”

– Professor Caroline Dive, Manchester lead from the Cancer Research UK

Creating this new focal point for lung cancer research will help recruit global leaders in this field of research, adding further strength to the UK’s reputation for world class research.

Children's cancer battle highlighted on Facebook

Ruby Mae from Denton, diagnosed in 2010 age 5

Mums and dads set up the page in response to 'no make-up selfie' craze - which they thought trivialised the disease.

Parents of youngsters being treated on Ward 84 at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital (RMCH) have posted photos of their children in response to the ‘no make up selfie’ trend.

Read more on the story here or click here to see the facebook page.

Josh, age 3, from Wigan has Burkitts Lymphoma Credit: MEN Syndication
Leo, 6, has a brain tumour Credit: MEN Syndication

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Royle Family star backs eye cancer campaign

The Royle Family creator Caroline Aherne is backing a new campaign to raise awareness of a rare form of eye cancer she suffered as a child.

The Royle Family star and Mrs Merton creator Caroline Aherne Credit: PA

Caroline, who revealed last week that she is recovering from lung cancer, has provided the voiceover for the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT) online video campaign aimed at highlighting key symptoms of retinoblastoma.

The 50-year-old has previously been treated for bladder cancer and retinoblastoma (Rb) which typically affects babies and young children.

Aherne said last week: "It is absolutely crucial that parents are aware of this horrible cancer and know what the early signs are so that treatment can be given as early as possible."

Cancer mum's joy at bringing baby home

Emma Grandison with baby Erin

A mum from Preston diagnosed with terminal cancer, weeks after discovering she was pregnant is bringing her baby home from hospital for the first time today.

Emma Grandison from Longton in Preston was over the moon when she got the news she was expecting her first baby with her husband Ian. Soon after the 31 year old developed a pain in her side, a further investigation revealed tumours on her liver.

Despite her pregnancy Emma needed to start chemotherapy. Erin Grandison was born almost 4 months premature back in November weighing less than 2lb and has remained in hospital ever since.

Earlier this year we spoke to Emma about her fight to stay alive for baby Erin. See more here.

Ovarian cancer awareness campaign launched

North West Cancer Research a charity which funds pioneering exploration into the causes of the disease is launching a campaign to raise awareness around ovarian cancer.

The cancer kills almost 4,400 women a year is the focus of a month-long campaign called O-Very. Dubbed the "silent killer" it affects almost 7,700 women each year.

The campaign aims to raise awareness around the symptoms such as abdominal pain, fatigue, swelling and loss of appetite are well known.

Detecting ovarian cancer at an early stage is crucial and symptoms can often be mistaken. Our O-Very campaign enables us to communicate this crucial information to large numbers of people."

– Anne Jackson, Chief Executive of NWCR

Find out more and how you can get involved here.

Bowel Cancer campaign: Brian's story

Brian Downes

A campaign is being launched in Salford to urge people to get screened for bowel cancer. It's the second most common cause of cancer deaths in the UK, anyone aged between 60 and 74 can get checked for free

Brian’s Story:

Brian Downes a retired computer engineer and a Salford resident for over 30 years, received and completed a bowel cancer screening kit towards the end of 2008 when he was 66 years old.

‘It is easy to do and it saves lives’. Father of three and Grandfather of five, Brian, can testify. Blood was found in his sample, and he was referred onto Royal Bolton hospital, where they arranged for him to have further tests. Brian was shocked to receive a diagnosis of bowel cancer.

‘I had no symptoms, no pain and was completely unaware of the cancer before taking the screening test.

‘My surgeon told me that if I had not taken the screening test, by the time the symptoms had become recognisable, I would have been rushed in as an emergency and they would have had to operate immediately’

‘By it being picked up through the screening process it meant they could do all the required scans and they were therefore much better prepared for my operation.’

When Brian was operated on at Salford Royal, they found that the cancer had also spread to his liver. After an operation for this at North Manchester General Hospital, he also received chemotherapy at Christies.

Regular surveillance meant that a tumour was found in his liver in 2011, and in 2014 a further tumour was found, which he will begin a course of chemotherapy on shortly.

His message to people who are unsure about taking part in bowel screening is

‘Just do it. Despite what I have been through, I am glad I took part. For most people, it would give them peace of mind. And for those who do need treatment, like myself, early intervention is much better’.

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