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Vicky Phelan to travel to US for six-month-long clinical trial

Ms Phelan will travel to Maryland on Sunday.

CERVICALCHECK CAMPAIGNER Vicky Phelan has revealed that she will travel alone to the US to take part in a clinical trial. 

Ms Phelan said she will leave for Maryland on Sunday for up to six months, hoping the immunotherapy treatment will give her more time with her family. 

In November, Ms Phelan disclosed that she has developed a new tumour for the first time in over two years. A scan revealed a new 3mm tumour in her lung, in addition to growth in three separate tumours. 

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

Speaking on the Late Late Show tonight, she said she’s very lucky to enjoy a really good quality of life but “it doesn’t take away from the fact that I have about 10 tumours in my body”.

Ms Phelan credited the drug pembrolizumab with shrinking her tumours but said it has only been effective on about 75% of them. 

“So, even though it stopped working for three tumours, I’ve two tumours, existing ones that have enlarged, and a new one. It’s still working on the other tumours so that’s why I’m so lucky to be well.”

It was back in April 2019 that Ms Phelan began researching backup treatments, contacting the researchers of the Maryland clinical trial directly. 

“I said to him ‘when would I need to move’, and he said ‘well you’ll need to move if you get new tumours’,” Ms Phelan said. 

“So, last September, when I had a scan, and it showed that two of my existing tumours had enlarged, but there was also a new tumour now on my lung. I contacted him and he said ‘yes, it was time to start’.”

She told Tubridy that the decision to leave home, for a minimum of six months, has started to weigh on her, and explained that they should know after two months if the treatment is working or not.

“If this trial works, I get more time with my kids. They understand it, I’ve been very open and honest with my kids from the very beginning.

“I rationalised it by saying it’s short term pain for long term gain, so if this trial works, I’ll get more time with my kids. 

“That’s when it hits me, that I have to leave my kids to get a chance for more time.”

Ms Phelan said the alternative in Ireland would be palliative chemotherapy: “I know if I go down that road that’s it, I’ve accepted that this is it, and I’m not ready for that.”

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“And if it doesn’t work, I have no regrets, absolutely no regrets.

“Do you know what I’m scared of most, is not coming back, or coming back in the coffin. I know that sounds very brutal but that would be my biggest worry and that’s why I’m getting upset about leaving on Sunday because you don’t know if I’m going to come back.” 

She’s hoping that her family will be able to come out and visit by Easter and thanked the public for all their well wishes. 

“I do what I do to help other people, to give people hope,” she said. 

“I would hope that there are people sitting at home and that they might get a little bit of hope and think that all is not always lost but there is always other options.

“Thank you to everybody in the country, honestly, I don’t think people realise the support has really been so good for me. It really does drive me on and help me. I don’t think people realise how much.”

Ms Phelan also spoke about her work with charity Heroes Aid, donations to which can be made here.

About the author:

Adam Daly

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