When Sylvia Lewis wakes up on a morning she no longer thinks ‘I have cancer’.
The Brotton grandmother has been battling lung cancer for more than six years, but recently discovered a renewed sense of energy after experts at The James Cook University Hospital introduced her to a new pioneering drug.
Sylvia, 78, has never been a smoker so was shocked when she was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2010 after becoming increasingly breathless.
Because of the way the cancer was developing Sylvia was deemed suitable to receive a tablet-based treatment. These tablets have often proven more effective than chemotherapy in such cases, but can eventually stop working.
Luckily for Sylvia she was able to start taking a new drug called Osimertinib in June last year – four months before it was approved for general NHS use.
Consultant oncologist Dr Talal Mansy sought special permission to provide the drug through an expanded access programme and the results have been very encouraging.
After the first week a CT scan revealed that the cancer was shrinking and a recent scan in January shows it has reduced even further still.
But Sylvia doesn’t need a scan to tell her the treatment is working as she feels better than she has for years!
“I feel over the moon,” she said. “We just can’t believe it!
“I have more energy now so I don’t necessarily need an afternoon nap every day.
“I don’t wake up on a morning and think ‘I have cancer’.
“I have received the best available treatment under the watchful eye of Dr Mansy, for which I am eternally grateful.”
Husband Alan said: “Six years ago there is no way we would have expected to be sat here now benefiting from this new drug. It is fantastic.”
Dr Mansy added: “Sylvia is probably my longest surviving lung cancer patient so it is great to see her benefitting from this exciting new treatment.
“At James Cook, we strive hard to get patients the most effective and newest treatments wherever possible.
“We have also expressed interest in more lung cancer clinical trials in the hope that this year we can do better still.
“The treatment landscape for lung cancer is rapidly changing but hopefully patients will do better than ever.”