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At 36 years of age Sarah-Jane Phillips was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, a form of the disease which tends to be more aggressive than other types of breast cancer and is also difficult to treat.
At the time of her diagnosis her little girls were aged seven and five and she really believed that her days with them were numbered.
“When cancer was confirmed, my whole world fell apart – my two girls were so young and the thought of not being around for them kept flashing through my mind.”
Triple-negative breast cancer does not respond to targeted therapies such as Herceptin, or to hormone treatments such as tamoxifen, and in 2009 Breakthrough opened a research unit dedicated to improving the treatment of this form of the disease. Scientists at the unit have already made important advances in understanding triple-negative breast cancer and will continue their research to help other women like Sarah-Jane.
Sarah-Jane had a mastectomy followed by eight courses of chemotherapy and, following discussions with her breast cancer specialist, decided to have a second, preventative mastectomy in her other breast shortly after finishing treatment. Five years on, Sarah is cancer-free and keen to support research into new and better treatments for the disease.
“Having heard about the amazing work that Breakthrough carries out, I wanted to raise money to support their world-class research. I decided to run the London Marathon in 2010 - it was the biggest challenge I have ever given myself and was such a huge achievement.”
Sarah-Jane successfully completed the marathon and raised a staggering £10,289 to support Breakthrough’s life-saving work.
“It is so reassuring to know that money raised to date will really be used to find new and better treatments for breast cancer patients. Breakthrough’s ambition is clear – as a result of their work women will no longer die from breast cancer.”