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'I knew this day would come': Vicky Phelan reveals her cancer has progressed

Phelan said her cancer is growing back slowly in addition to a new tumour in her lung.

Image: PA

CERVICALCHECK CAMPAIGNER Vicky Phelan has revealed that she has developed a new tumour for the first time in over two years. 

In a series of tweets this evening, Ms Phelan said she has developed a new 3mm tumour in her lung, in addition to growth in three tumours.

“I knew this day would come, and that Pembro would stop keeping all of my tumours at bay. BUT I am so very glad that I fought for Pembro. It has given me almost 3 years of a quality of life I could never have hoped for on chemotherapy. Thank you Pembro,” she said of the drug pembrolizumab.

Ms Phelan was given a terminal cancer diagnosis after previously receiving a false negative smear test result in 2018. 

Tweet by @Vicky Phelan Source: Vicky Phelan/Twitter

Ms Phelan said that she is actively researching her options at the moment but “apart from bouts of extreme tiredness at times, I am very lucky to report no other symptoms at the moment”. 

“I will continue to campaign with the 221plus for a Tribunal that meets the needs of the women and families,” she said of the CervicalCheck Tribunal, the establishment of which has been criticised for not engaging with members of the 221+ Group.

Ms Phelan and others from the 221+ Group – which was set up to support women and families identified arising out of the CervicalCheck scandal – said last week that the Department of Health had originally agreed to pause the tribunal’s establishment to allow it to engage with members of the group. 

However, that “promise was broken” and a statutory order establishing the Tribunal was signed, effectively starting the Tribunal last Tuesday.  

The Department confirmed that the order had been signed and that it could not be reversed.

Speaking during an interview on RTÉ Radio 1′s DriveTime this evening, Ms Phelan said that while campaigning helps to keep her mind occupied, as soon as the tribunal issue is sorted she will have to step back and focus on her own health.

“My cancer was never gone, it’s just been stable that’s it. What’s happened in the last couple of weeks is that I have a new tumour,” she said. 

Unfortunately, there is no cure, all I’m doing is buying time.

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“I said that when I first started campaigning in April 2018 that I wanted something good to come out of this, and this [a tribunal] would be good for women and families. A tribunal that is fit for women and families, which is what it is intended for. 

“This is a disease that affects very young women with young families, and all of these women are leaving young children behind, or in some cases women who have had not the opportunity to have families.”

Ms Phelan urged Health Minister Stephen Donnelly and government to do right by the women and families affected by the CervicalCheck scandal. 

“Listen to our concerns and address the needs of the women & families with grace and compassion. Honour those who have already passed away including Ruth, Emma, Orla, Julie and stop the cycle of protecting the State or you will fail these women a second time.” 

About the author:

Adam Daly

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