Grandmother told she’s cancer free – 15 years after she was given months to live

Bowel cancer: Dr Philippa Kaye lists the symptoms

A woman has finally been given the all-clear from cancer, 15 years after being told she had just three to six months left to live.

Darina Eyre, 62, had disease in her bowel, liver and lung – and was even a day patient at a hospice.

The grandmother-of-one, from Lancashire was initially diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer in 2004 and underwent surgery and chemotherapy to remove it.

However, she was then told that it had spread to her bloodstream and may return.

Four years later the mum-of-two was diagnosed with liver cancer and told she may only have three to six months to live due to how advanced it was.

Doctors then found a cancerous lump in Darina’s lung and she required another surgery to remove it.

Her cancer has been monitored ever since but now 19 years after her first diagnosis she has to be told she’s finally free of the disease.

Darina said: “I can’t even describe the relief when the doctors said, ‘Darina we are discharging you.’

“After the last surgery, we were all relieved but were very sceptical.

“Finally after 19 years, I was able to ring my family and tell them I have been discharged completely.

“They’ve said touch wood that the cancer won’t return.”

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Her first symptoms of bowel cancer appeared a year prior to her diagnosis, however, doctors told her they were caused by a bad diet.

The tumour then burst causing the cancer to spread into her bloodstream, which is why she has had cancer so many times.

“As a family, we were so heartbroken and angry when I was first diagnosed because I had been to the doctors every few months,” she recalled.

“They just said I had a bad diet but it wasn’t, because I never had a bad diet.

“I wasn’t eating how I am now, which is very mindfully, but I was still eating well.

“Now I’m always telling people if they have any symptoms of bowel cancer, to not ignore them and go to the doctors as soon as possible as it could be avoided.”

Her lung cancer diagnosis came just a few months before her daughter, who is also called Darina, gave birth to her daughter Olivia Grace, now 14.

This made her “determined” to fight the disease.

Darina said: “When my granddaughter was born and I was holding her, I swore that I would be here for her until I’m an old granny.

“The relationship I have with her now is absolutely amazing, she calls me her partner in crime and we do a lot of things like go on holidays together.

“Every time I look at her, she’s a reminder that everything is in our head and we can decide to keep fighting.”

Darina has also thanked staff at the Pendleside Hospice, in Burnley, who she said do “’an absolutely fantastic job” to care for their patients.

She added: “I will be forever grateful for the days that I spent there.”

According to the NHS, the most common symptoms of bowel cancer are:

  • Changes in your poo, such as having softer poo, diarrhoea or constipation that is not usual for you
  • Needing to poo more or less often than usual for you
  • Blood in your poo, which may look red or black
  • Bleeding from your bottom
  • Often feeling like you need to poo, even if you’ve just been to the toilet
  • Tummy pain
  • Bloating
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Feeling very tired for no reason.

If you experience any of these symptoms for three weeks or more you should speak to your GP.

Ask for an urgent appointment or call 111 if your poo is black or dark red or if you have bloody diarrhoea.

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