Her mother’s brush in Belfast with cancer has given her and her family a new perspective –


Liz O’Sullivan, mother from Belfast, with her husband and family

In August 2020, Liz O’Sullivan was a working woman who was named Belfast Woman of the Year in IT while caring for a young family.

“Everything was fine at work and at home until the bomb went off,” he recalls.

She is married with two children, the 48-year-old is from Belfast and has had digestive issues for three months, but the blood tests with her doctor were not conclusive.

Nearly two years ago, a swollen, painful abdomen took him to the emergency room, where he underwent various tests before a CT scan revealed a tumor, and subsequent MRI scans confirmed the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

Although there have been distinct signs for some time, you tell yourself it couldn’t be, so the diagnosis was shocking, Liz said about the diagnosis.

“ᲛᲔ You don’t think it’s the right time to get this news, but when things are going well, it feels like your life is exploding. It’s all been a bit surreal ever since. ”

Liz started treatment on the NHS and the tumor was initially thought to be surgical.

However, while on the operating table in October 2020, surgeons realized they could not move forward because the tumor was wrapped around Lis’ portal vein, the main vein that removes blood from the digestive tract.

“It was kind of an oomph: making a diagnosis like that, then saying you could have surgery, then having surgery, and finally finding out that your tumor doesn’t work. While surgery isn’t always a cure when you have a tumor in your body,” he said. You just want to get rid of him.”

In November 2020, Liz began a strict regimen of chemotherapy in the hopes that it would shrink the tumor enough to make surgery safe.

After six rounds of chemotherapy, although the condition remained stable, it was clear that there was no significant tumor response, and in February 2021, a surgeon advised him that the tumor was not likely to be effective at all.

To receive such devastating news and that palliative care was the next step, Liz didn’t want to despair. In her career in cybersecurity, Lizzie has done a lot of research on new technologies and protocols, and as at work, she has spent time researching breakthroughs in cancer treatment and treatment protocols.

He read articles about the new technology GenesisCare uses and spoke to his case manager with his personal physician, who contacted Dr. James Goods, Clinical Director of GenesisCare Oxford Stereotactic Radiotherapy.

In just two phone calls, Liz with Zoom consulted with Dr. Goode, who explained SABR, radiotherapy at MRIdian Linac, and global results.

As it turned out, all was well for Liz and her family to travel to Oxford for treatment, which took over two weeks in June 2021.

Liz was treated with the UK’s first MRIdian Linac at GenesisCare, Oxford, which uses innovative radiotherapy technology to treat tumors using live images, meaning doctors can see “in real time” when they are being treated.

Combine live imaging and automatic beam control to prevent damage to healthy tissue during treatment. If the tumor moves even slightly, the treatment will stop automatically until it returns to its place.

This increased accuracy allows for higher doses of radiation without increasing the risk of side effects.

Liz underwent only five sessions of radiotherapy, lasting from 45 minutes to an hour. With minimal delays and side effects, this meant that he and his family could spend time in Oxford.

“The day I got treatment, I was able to go back to our apartment and rest and my husband would take the kids to the parks,” Liz said.

“I got it easily, but we were able to relax and visit London, Legoland and Cotswold Country Park while we were there – we have really good memories of being there.”

Importantly, this course of treatment caused a noticeable shrinkage of Lys’ tumor, to the point that she was now suddenly ready for surgery, and in December the tumor was successfully removed.

Lizzy adds, “It’s very rare for a surgeon to open a person twice. I had planned a risky procedure where the surgeon would consult with a vascular surgeon to do a vascular ablation in addition to the usual procedure, but it turns out the tumor has moved away from the vein.”

“I don’t know what the future holds, what the disease will do, and no one will be able to predict it. However, I honestly believe the treatment has given me more family time, which everyone really wants.

“At least the treatment slows the progression of the disease.”

The success of MRIdian and Liz’s radiotherapy has given the family more time since a recent study of 148 patients found that the treatment doubled the survival rate of patients with non-invasive pancreatic cancer compared to the historical results of conventional treatment.

The results are significant because only 20% of patients with pancreatic cancer undergo surgery at diagnosis and the prognosis is particularly poor for patients with non-operative pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Good added: “MRI gives us confidence to treat complex cancers, such as pancreatic cancers, with higher doses of radiation needed to achieve better outcomes, such as Lizzie. The GenesisCare team is proud to have had the opportunity to help in this way.”

Source: Belfastlive


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