After being told she had 25 tumours in her brain and probably less than six months to live, Heidi Spencer was devastated.
But the mother-of-two refused to accept the doctors’ prognosis and instead turned detective to find a cure.
After researching a ground-breaking genetic test for cancer online, she began a course of specialist drugs and says she is now free of symptoms.
Within three months her brain tumours had vanished and others in her bones and lung are in remission or have shrunk.
Although she is not cured, she now has a chance of a future with her husband, Dave, 39, and sons, William, seven, and Lewis, four. Spencer, 45, a business analyst, told The Sun: ‘If I’d relied on NHS advice and their standard of care I would be dead now. I owe my life to those tests and to not always listening to the doctors.’
Spencer’s problems began on Mother’s Day last year when her right leg went numb. Tests revealed she was suffering from stage-four lung cancer that had spread to her brain and bones.
Medics told her there was little they could do but offer her palliative care and that she had only six to 12 months to live.
But she refused to accept that and discovered FoundationOne, a £3,000 DNA profiling test devised in America. By analysing a patient’s blood or taking a biopsy from their tumours, the test identifies which genes have mutated and are driving a patient’s cancer. With this knowledge doctors can then choose therapies most likely to kill the tumours.
Six weeks after having the test Spencer was told that five of her genes had mutated to cause the disease. Of these, two have treatments available.
With the help of doctors from Manchester’s Christie Hospital, Mrs Spencer, of Burland, Cheshire, started on the specialist drugs, in combination with targeted radiotherapy.Daily Mail