Megan Murphy (46), of Bramley, took part in a drug trial and had oxygen and infrared therapy as part of her battle against bile duct cancer.
She said she was keen to “tackle my cancer from all angles” by choosing “to heal my body rather than fight it”.
Megan’s condition, which was diagnosed in August last year, is also known as cholangiocarcinoma — an uncommon cancer that creates abnormal cells in the bile ducts and grows in an uncontrolled way.
She said that, after what started out as pain in her solar plexus, back and hip, she had pressed doctors for further investigation after her pain worsened and physio treatment was not working.
Following further blood tests a few months later, doctors found Megan had abnormal liver function and she received the devastating news that doctors had found a large tumour in her liver and several smaller ones, which had spread to her lungs and lymph nodes.
Speaking about her diagnosis to raise awareness about her rare type of cancer, Megan added: “Everything at the beginning was such a shock — it all progressed really quickly.
“My cancer is at stage four and I am classed as inoperable.
“I had no real symptoms and, at worst, I thought I may have had a hernia. Cancer was the last thing I would have ever expected.”
Almost a year on from her diagnosis, Megan said she had already seen some positive results in her treatment and had been having alternative therapies in a bid to make herself well.
Thanks to a few rounds of chemotherapy and being part of a new drugs therapy treatment, she has seen her biggest tumour shrink by over half and some of the smaller tumours disappeared completely.
“Initially, chemotherapy had been working well, but I started to struggle massively and I was in a lot of pain, so I knew I wouldn’t be able to have chemo long term,” Megan said.
“But I started a new treatment in April — pemigatinib drugs therapy — after a drugs company read about my story online and wanted to help.
“I am one of the first people in the UK to have this treatment and my latest scans a couple of weeks ago showed my biggest tumour has shrunk from 13.2cm to 6cm and some have even disappeared — something none of us was expecting.”
With her future unclear, Megan has been researching alternative treatments since her diagnosis and believes it’s the key to unlocking more time with her family.
She has adjusted her diet by cutting out alcohol and sugar and increased her exercise and sleep.
Megan has also been taking more supplements and tried out alternative therapies, such as taking repurposed drugs that are said to provide benefits for her type of cancer, and has been undergoing both oxygen and infrared therapy.
“I am trying to tackle my cancer from all angles,” Megan said. “I may have cancer, but I am trying to heal my body from it rather than fight it.
“This approach has changed my mindset and at the moment I am feeling well.
“I have been getting back into my job slowly at Rush House and I am trying to stay as positive as possible.
“My family have really helped me through this and been my strength.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up by Megan’s friend Emma Shaw, who described Megan as an amazing woman, and has already raised more than £6,000 to help pay for alternative therapies.
Visit https://bit.ly/3hDbfxe to make a donation.
* Despite being rare, bile duct cancer (also called cholangiocarcinoma) is the second most common primary liver cancer
* This cancer is a primary liver cancer which starts in the inside lining of the ducts of the biliary tree – which is a network of tubes that carry bile from the liver to the gut
* This form of cancer is difficult to diagnose accurately and early, so by the time of diagnosis, it is often too advanced for surgery – currently the only potential cure
* Few symptoms are caused in the early stages for this cancer – any symptoms tend to be vague, such as nausea and loss of appetite. At a more advanced stage, symptoms can include jaundice, tiredness, generally feeling unwell, high temperature and shivering and weight loss
People wanting more information can contact AMMF – The Cholangiocarcinoma Charity:
ADDRESS: Enterprise House, Bassingbourn Road, Stansted, Essex CM24 1QW
EMAIL: General enquiries - email@example.com; Fundraising enquiries - firstname.lastname@example.org
TELEPHONE: 01279 661479