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.
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.