Breast Cancer Research Participant Story

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“I’m living my life and this team did that for me” Oncology research patient talks about her experience of being a participant in a breast cancer treatment research study.

Below is a moving account from one of our research participants which demonstrates the impact on lives that can be achieved by working in Research & Development at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT).

A patient and a member of the Lynher Research Team

By the time Lynher research participant, Chantelle Ward, was 17 she’d lost both her parents to cancer. In 2018, aged just 31, her world fell apart again with a diagnosis of triple negative breast cancer. Chantelle had a 6-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter and this gave her the drive to fight, as she was terrified by the thought of leaving them.  Chantelle said “My biggest fear was that this was going to happen to my children too, I wanted to do everything in my power for this not to happen to them.”

During her first appointment with the Oncologist, Chantelle was offered the opportunity to take part in a clinical research study. She describes this point as where her journey began and where she met ‘the best oncology research team’. Although she describes the thought of being on a research study and taking a new drug as quite scary, Chantelle felt this was not only her chance to change her future but also a way to help fellow patients that walked in the door after me. 

Chantelle felt this to be one of the best decisions she had ever made.  She describes the support received from the research team as ‘immense’ and says she was made to feel like a VIP with the extra attention she received from the research nurses. She said “There were so many extra check-ups, that made me feel even more safe in their hands. What the research team is doing is absolutely amazing, the work and effort they put in is second to none. When I first got diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer it was one of the worst types to have, but now it’s one of the better ones to have because of the improved treatments which is all down to the research that’s been put into it. I can honestly say that if I went back in time, every time I would choose to do the study as cures come from research.  I can hold my head up high and say that I helped change cancer treatments.” 

I’m now 4 years on in my trials and I still have regular appointments with the research team. I’m living my life and this team did that for me. I was totally broken, but with their time and effort they have rebuilt me. I can’t thank them all enough.”

The Lynher Research Team employ 18 staff in a variety of roles to deliver research to patients who are under the care of the oncology department at RCHT. They are running over 100 research studies at the Trust. Team members undergo training on each study protocol to enable them to carry out the required clinical tests, interviews, and observations to collect the required data. This makes the role varied with no two days being the same.

Lynher Research Team work closely with each study’s Principal Investigator, as well as other health care professional colleagues, to co-ordinate the smooth running of research delivery at the Trust.  They are a dedicated and passionate team who support patients throughout their research journey. This journey can often involve multiple visits and last for several years.

To find out more about working in Research & Development at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, please watch our recruitment video below or visit www.jobs.nhs.uk to view our latest vacancies.

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