A terminally-ill mum battling a rare form of liver cancer is undergoing her second round of drugs trials as she fights to spend her last moments with her daughters.
Mum-of-two Kayleigh Lynch, 26, of Southwick, has Fibrolamellar Hepatocellular Carcinoma (FHCC)– a condition for which about 200 people worldwide are diagnosed each year.
Doctors told her there was nothing they could do to cure her after she stopped fortnightly chemotherapy, but she is determined not to give up and has started her second course of pioneering drug trials in an effort to extend her life.
“I am on a Phase One trial at the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation Cancer Trials Research Centre in Newcastle, so my fingers are crossed,” she said.
“I am getting a lot of standard chemo on Mondays and then on Tuesdays I get to go in to get another booster treatment to help the chemo work, which is the one getting trialled. Then they keep a close eye on me with blood tests to see how I go.”
The NHS trial will last two months while Kayeligh undergoes two cycles of the chemo and blood tests in the hope it will buy her more time.
In May 2014, the former care home assistant was shocked to discover a tumour on her liver, just months after giving birth to her second child Holly.
Doctors at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital removed 80 per cent of her liver in July that year, but since Miss Lynch stopped fortnightly chemotherapy treatment the trials are her last chance to extend her life.
“This treatment hasn’t been trialed before, so I am a guinea pig trying it out to see if it works,” she said.
“It is intense and I am going to get a lot more poorly and a lot more tired than last time, but if I feel well enough I will stay on the treatment, which changes on a week-to -week basis.
“My cancer isn’t curable, the trial is to prolong my life. There are a lot of side effects from it, as it can cause kidney failure, but I am hopeful it will shrink the size of the tumours or for them to stay the same.”
Kayleigh said recent X-rays have shown multiple tumours in each lung, with the largest one measuring four inches in her right lung.
Last year cash poured in for the brave mum on a Go Fund Me page – sending Ms Lynch, along with mum and carer Elaine Lynch, partner Stuart Douglas, and her children to Disneyland.
A fundraising evening for Kayleigh was also held last September to raise more cash for the future of her daughters Holly, two, and Kiera, six.
Kayleigh added: “I want to prolong my life to see as much of the girls as possible.
“Christmas was lovely as I had all the family around and we are going on holiday in June to Tenerife. “It’s all about making memories and making every second count.
“I also want to raise awareness of this type of rare cancer to see if more research can be done to cure it.”
Fibrolamellar Hepatocellular Carcinoma is a rare form of liver cancer that usually occurs in teens and young adults who have no history of liver disease.
Each year, approximately 200 people are diagnosed with this cancer worldwide.
The typical treatment is surgical removal of the tumor but when the tumor cannot be removed surgically or when there is distant spread, chemotherapy is used
Currently, there are no effective treatment options other than liver resection surgery and there is no standard chemotherapy regimen so the chemo cocktail varies from patient to patient.