In early June 2007 Mum was admitted to hospital with raised calcium levels and anaemia, she had been feeling unwell for about a month and had been under investigation for anaemia. On admission she had a chest X-Ray and a CT scan and was found to have advanced renal cancer with multiple pulmonary metastases. The provincial hospital that she was currently in did not have an Oncologist that dealt with renal cancer but her case was taken over by the Urologists and she underwent an embolisation of the renal artery as well as receiving blood transfusions and treatment for high calcium.
After discharge Mum was seen by an Oncologist as an outpatient in another hospital. I had read up a lot about possible treatment options for advanced renal cancer such as Sunitineb and Interferon but the consultant did not feel that she was well enough for any of these and Sunitineb was not available on the NHS anyway. After this I joined a kidney cancer forum on the web and immediately was contacted by Kate Spall from the Pamela Northcott Fund. She gave me her contact number and I was then able to speak to her at length. She gave me the contact for Professor Martin Gore at the Royal Marsden and explained how I could request a second opinion. I asked Mum’s consultant to refer her to the Marsden and she was seen there by Professor Gore’s team within a couple of weeks. The Doctors there spent two hours talking to Mum and gave her the compassion and respect she deserved. They then suggested that she start a trial of Temsirolimus every week at their Chelsea Hospital. Mum went to the Marsden weekly to have this treatment until she sadly died just three months after diagnosis.
I will be eternally grateful for the advice I was given by Kate, which enabled me to get a second opinion on my Mum’s care. My Mum was a successful and courageous woman and so needed the hope and opportunity to keep fighting that the Royal Marsden gave her.