The friends of Action Radiotherapy are a select few individuals who have kindly agreed to lend support and offer advice to Action Radiotherapy.
Rachael Bland, a mother and wife to Steve Bland, has been a BBC news presenter for more than 15 years and currently presents programmes on BBC 5 Live and BBC North West Tonight. In November 2016, Rachael, 39, was diagnosed with primary triple-negative breast cancer that had spread to lymph nodes under her right arm. In December 2016, she started four and a half months of chemotherapy, which was followed by a lumpectomy and axillary node clearance in May 2017, a mastectomy in July 2017 and re-excision in August 2017. She then started 15 sessions of radiotherapy in August 2017 followed by a further 18 weeks of chemotherapy.
In November 2017, Rachael presented her experiences as a radiotherapy patient at the parliamentary reception on radiotherapy hosted by AvdaMed and Tim Farron MP, which was attended by MP’s from across the UK, professionals in radiotherapy and patients. The reception was held to highlight that radiotherapy should receive continued attention and investment from Government and NHS England, and that access needs to be improved.
Her blog, Big C. Little Me about her journey with breast cancer, chemotherapy and radiotherapy won the ‘Something Different’ category in the 2017 Northern Blog Awards, and the Vlog-Blog prize at the O2 Media Awards 2017. We are delighted she has become a Friend of Action Radiotherapy.
Jo Cresswell, BSc, PhD
Dr Jo Cresswell is a long-standing friend of Action Radiotherapy, and spent 8 years working with Prof Pat Price as Research Manager for the Academic Department of Radiation Oncology at the Christie Hospital. This enabled Jo to pursue her passion for clinical research, and gain an in-depth knowledge of both the power of radiotherapy to cure cancer, and the need for further research to deliver more accurate treatments to improve outcomes, reducing the short and long term impacts on patients following their treatment. Jo helped Pat Price to first set up the Academic Clinical Oncology and Radiobiology Research Network (ACORRN) in 2004/5, and was then instrumental in setting up Action Radiotherapy as a Charity in 2009/10. Jo herself was born with congenital heart problems and underwent corrective medical treatments in early childhood. While gratefully able to live an active life, she has first hand knowledge of managing a long term underlying health condition and the need to improve communication between medical professionals and patients.
Jo is currently Associate Director of Research & Knowledge Exchange at the University of Salford, where she had the pleasure of meeting diagnostic radiographers who have benefited from ACORRN’s work. She retains a passion in research, and the need to deliver real impact from that research. Outside work she is an enthusiastic amateur photographer, with an interest in photographing very small things, very close up – which is also helping her overcome her arachnophobia.
Alison Young was told during the 2015 summer holidays that she had two types of breast cancer. The good news was that one was ‘non-life threatening’, leaving her imagination to run wild about how the second cancer might play out. As a single mum of a then eight year old, it was a terrifying time, and it cast a long shadow over her future plans. The next 15 months were filled with a year of chemotherapy, two lots of surgery, much physio therapy and 15 days of radio therapy. But despite the length, intensity and toll of the treatment, it was an illuminating period in her life which continues to fuel her passion to help others going through change. With the treatment now behind her, she has returned to her work with leaders in change with renewed energy and new perspectives.
She’s been writing about all the amusing things that have happened on her treatment journey and may someday publish a book. Alison has also spoken publicly and contributed to press articles regarding her experience, particularly on the subject of DIBH (Deep Inspiration Breath Hold technique).
Mark Davies was diagnosed with a lower rectal tumour in the summer of 2003 and has been cancer free for over 10 years since receiving Papillon (as well as chemotherapy and radiotherapy) to eradicate a lower rectal tumour.
Mark now lectures at universities, charities and hospitals across the world, delivering advice and information on subjects such as patient choice, survivorship issues and the short and long term effects of radiotherapy. He also supports various survivor groups and chaired the Late Effects of Pelvic Radiation clinical group for 2 years. You can read more about his experience in his book ‘Saving my arse: Bowel cancer: A survivor’s story’.
His lasting advice to anyone diagnosed with cancer is to give yourself time to make a decision on your treatment. Do some research into your diagnosis, sign up to blogs where patients share their experiences and join any support groups in your area. If you are interested in further information on Papillon please visit http://contactpapillon.com/, Europe’s first patient led Papillon Radiotherapy website.
David Bradbury, Director, DB Nuclear Consultancy Ltd
Before retiring, Dr. David Bradbury was MD of Bradtec Decon Technologies Ltd, a company which develops technology for the decommissioning of nuclear facilities. He was involved in many new developments relating to management of radioactive waste and nuclear clean-up during his 40 years in the nuclear industry. He is author of 15 patents and over 50 publications relating to nuclear decommissioning and radioactive waste management technology. He has worked in many different countries on decommissioning and radioactive waste projects.
Dr Charles Lowdell, B.Sc, MRCS, FRCR; FRCP, Consultant Oncologist
Dr Lowdell is a Consultant Oncologist who specialises in Breast, GI, lung and general oncology. He is a consultant clinical oncologist at Imperial College NHS Trust, where he has also held the post of lead clinician for breast and lung cancer. He is Honorary Consultant in oncology at Chelsea and Westminster, West Middlesex, Queen Mary’s and Kingston Hospitals and an honorary senoir lecturer at Imperial College School of Science, Technology and Medicine. He has a broad clinical practice with a major interest in breast and gastro-intestinal malignancy. He is a principal investigator in a large number of cancer trials and contributes to national studies in breast, lung, gastro-intestinal cancer and lymphomas. He has three children and outside work his major interests are: photography, sub aqua, travel, music, the arts, antiquities and vine culture. He also speaks Swahili!