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A great-grandmother from Wirral marks 200th treatment for breast cancer

A great-grandmother from the Wirral who took part in a ground-breaking breast cancer study has received her 200th chemotherapy treatment more than a decade after being diagnosed.

Pat Bordley, 78, from Wallasey, was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer and took part in a clinical trial for a new therapy. It was such a success it is now a standard NHS treatment – saving thousands of lives – and the retired teacher is still receiving it.

Pat is pictured on the day of her 100th cycle of chemotherapy with trials nurses, from left, Rachel Drapeur and Sarah Rose and health care assistants Nicola Knowles and Daniel Hitchmough.

Pat was initially diagnosed with a pre-cancerous breast condition in 2005 (High Grade DCIS) for which, following surgery, she received radiotherapy treatment. Four years later, she developed a skin rash on her breast. Biopsies and CT images diagnosed advanced breast cancer and Pat was told her cancer was incurable. 

“I remember thinking, ‘but what about Christmas?’, said Pat. “It was only March, but I went out and bought all my Christmas presents and had them wrapped and ready to go. I didn’t think I would live to watch my family open them.”

However, through Dr Zaf Malik, Consultant Clinical Oncologist at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, Pat discovered she was eligible for a chemotherapy clinical trial, called CLEOPATRA. The trial involved using chemotherapy and two targeted treatments to kill cancer cells and to stop the messages that tell them to grow.

In 2014, following successful trials with thousands of women, CLEOPATRA was approved and offered as a standard NHS treatment. And this week Pat received her 200th dose, having had the treatment every three weeks for the past 12 years, both as part of the trial and continuing once it was approved. 

“I was told my cancer was incurable but this trial has allowed me to see another 12 years with my husband Alex, my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren,” she said.

Pat has been treated since her diagnosis at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre’s Delamere clinic at its Wirral site. 

“I’ve really got to know the team at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and the care they give me is outstanding,” said Pat. “Since the start of the pandemic, I haven’t left the house much, other than to have my treatment, so it’s been like a day out for me when I come here.”

Since April 2020, The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre has offered hope to 853 people through clinical trials. Researching new and innovative ways of treating cancer remain one of the Trust’s top priorities. 

Pat’s consultant, Dr Malik, said:

“Pat is a wonderful example of the effectiveness of clinical trials and the lifeline they can give to patients. The international CLEOPATRA trial has been extremely successful, and drugs investigated as part of the trial are now offered as standard treatment for breast cancer across the NHS.

“It is thanks to brave patients like Pat taking part in clinical trials that CLEOPATRA has now been able to save thousands of lives across the world. The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre is committed to researching the latest and most innovative treatments for cancer through clinical trials.”

Dr Gillian Heap, Director of Research and Innovation Operations at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust, added:

“Through research, we aim to give patients hope. Pat is a shining example of the miracles of clinical trials and the lifeline that they can offer patients following a cancer diagnosis. 

“We have continued to offer these opportunities to patients throughout the pandemic, opening many new cancer trials since the start of 2020. We will continue to work with local, national and international research partners to offer the very latest treatments to our patients.”

READ MORE: Clatterbridge Cancer Centre – Aintree celebrates 10th Anniversary

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