Breast cancer survivor at heart of new campaign could 'feel cancer disappearing'

  • Watch this report by ITV Meridian's Mary Stanley

The emotional moment a mum-of-two from Southampton was told her cancerous tumour had disappeared, is at the heart of a new advert, hitting screens across the UK today.

Marrianne Ford, 43, has been taking part in a clinical trial, partly funded by Cancer Research UK, called the PARTNER trial to find effective new treatments for patients with triple negative breast cancer.

In the powerful advert, filmed in August this year, Marrianne can be seen shedding tears as her consultant tells her the tumour has ‘melted away.’

Marrianne, from Totton, and her husband Derek, starred in the ‘fly on the wall’ film as her oncologist at University Hospital Southampton told her the incredible news that she was cancer free.

  • Watch Marrianne's full interview here:

Marrianne said, "When you are told you have cancer, your automatic reaction is to say: ‘How long have I got?’ To get such positive results was a massive relief.”

"Without the funds, the doctors, nurses and scientists cannot continue the research and the research that’s been done so far just goes to prove that it’s helping to save lives.”

Marrianne hopes her story will inspire people to make a difference.  

Marrianne received her diagnosis in March this year after finding a lump in her breast. In February, she felt what she thought was a lump and by the end of the month she noticed it had grown. She contacted her GP and he requested an examination.

She was then fast-tracked to the Princess Anne Hospital who carried out a mammogram and a biopsy.

Marrianne Ford's cancer literally 'melted away'

Marrianne said, “Two weeks later I was told it was cancer. I kind of expected it but I was extremely upset as you always think the worst.

"I told my eldest daughter Kaitlin, first who was 20 at the time but was apprehensive about telling my younger daughter, Abi, who was only 14. She was upset at first but she has coped amazingly.

“Although I had caught it early, it was aggressive and growing at about 1cm a month. Then my oncologist offered me the chance to take part in the PARTNER trial which also offered a test for the faulty BRCA gene, which I was keen to do because I have two daughters.

“He said to go away and think about it for a week. Whilst it was more intense chemo, it was something I felt quite privileged to be offered. I felt that if we can help others in this situation then all the better.”

Marrianne said she received lots of support from loved ones
The Pickering drop-in centre in Tunbridge Wells

Marrianne's results have been welcomed by those at the Pickering Centre in Tunbridge Wells, which supports anyone who is diagnosed with cancer. Those who run the centre say they hope the trials will lead to successful treatments in the future.

  • Polly Taylor, Co-Founder, Pickering Cancer Centre

Marrianne began weekly chemotherapy in May for 12 weeks and believes she could quickly feel the cancer disappearing.

She said: “After my first round I could physically feel that the lump had reduced and by the second round, I couldn’t feel it at all and it had gone down from 5cm to 1.5cm. Because I could notice such a difference, I had an early MRI and the appointment with my oncologist was filmed the next day.

Marrianne believes she could quickly feel the cancer disappearing Credit: Cancer Research UK

“The whole point of the treatment was to melt the tumour away. I knew it had shrunk but to get that confirmation that it had gone and to see it on screen really blew me away and when I told the family, everyone was crying. I hadn’t even finished my chemo!

"Without these kinds of trials, they wouldn’t be able to help as many people as they do, so we need this kind of research to continue."

Marrianne has now completed her chemotherapy and this week had surgery to remove some surrounding tissue as well as some lymph nodes.

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

  • a new lump or thickening in your breast or armpit

  • a change in size, shape or feel of your breast

  • skin changes in the breast such as puckering, dimpling, a rash or redness of the skin

  • fluid leaking from the nipple in a woman who isn’t pregnant or breast feeding

  • changes in the position of the nipple

If you are worried, make an appointment with your GP.

Ceremony for dragon boat team made up of breast cancer survivors

MP Tracey Crouch off to 'max out on life' following breast cancer treatment