Ruth's story .

Ruth on life with ACC, her treatment for lung metastases and how she likes to keep up with all the latest research.

Diagnosis and treatment

My name’s Ruth, and I was diagnosed in 2009 with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (ACC) of my right submandibular gland. And I had that excised and had three operations. After the operations I had six weeks of radiotherapy.

Lung metastases treatment

A year after I had radiotherapy, I had a CT scan of my lungs, and they found I had lung metastases. The research I’d done was that you can have them removed with RFA* which is a treatment where they put a probe into your lung, and through heat, destroy the metastases. So I had that done ten times, and seven of the metastases have been destroyed, and gone, and I would have had a lot more, and they would have grown more if I hadn’t had that done over the years. It leaves you with a little bit of scar tissue in your lung, but apart from that, it does not destroy the healthy lung tissue, and it hasn’t affected my life at all.

*Radiofrequency ablation


My attitude is to be very positive, and I keep up with all the current research, and I’m very involved with what’s going on with research, with the ACCRF* and also with the work at the Christie**. I’ve had my tumour profiled and I’m very interested in all the clinical trials etc. that are coming up.

*Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Research Foundation      ** The Christie Hospital, Manchester

Getting on with life

I have a healthy diet and an active life. I walk my dog every day. I go swimming once a week – I do 40 lengths of the swimming baths every week. I’ve got lots of friends – I’ve got friends who don’t even know I’ve got cancer because I don’t feel the need to talk about it all the time. I enjoy getting on with my life.

Just after I was diagnosed, we planned to get this black Labrador puppy, and my husband said – well perhaps we’d better not get him – and I said no, no, we will get him, you know, it’ll be good to have a puppy. And he’s nine now – and he’s brilliant. I take him for an hour’s walk every morning, and it all keeps me fit and well and motivated, basically.

If I could go back in time and give myself one piece of advice I would say you don’t need to worry too much about having cancer. You can still get on with your life; you can still do the things you do.