Jane Hollywood was told she wouldn’t survive breast cancer but she researched alternative treatments and discovered CyberKnife Therapy
Today she is still going strong
A two-time breast cancer survivor told by UK doctors that the disease would kill her eight years ago refused to give up and found life-saving “CyberKnife” treatment in the US herself.
Mother-of-two Jane Hollywood, from Boduan in Penllyn, was first treated for breast cancer in 2004, but started getting a pain in her armpit four years later.
She was told by her GP that it was down to nerve damage from the operation which removed the lump in 2004.
Jane said: “I had eight visits in total to different doctors, and they all told me it was nothing to worry about.”
“I decided to contact the breast care nurses myself, who arranged for me to have a scan.”
“It turned out that I had a 3.5cm tumour in between my ribs.”
“It was inoperable, and traditional radiation was impossible due to having it previously.”
Jane took matters into her own hands and researched alternative treatments, which is when she came across CyberKnife in Atlanta, Georgia.
The CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System is said to deliver beams of high dose radiation to tumours with extreme accuracy.
“I was repeatedly told I would not survive,” said Jane.
“My oncologist in Bangor fought to discourage me from going for the CyberKnife treatment, saying there was no way it would work.”
“They thought I was a woman in denial, clutching at straws.”
“I went for a second opinion and was told to take the advice of my oncologist, go home and make the most of the time I had left.”
Determined not to be discouraged, Jane travelled to the States with her husband John and youngest daughter Manon in 2009.
CyberKnife cost $60,000 at the time, but she received support from the WellStar Foundation and her doctor waived his fee, meaning she only had to pay $14,000.
Jane said: “I was devastated when I was diagnosed.”
“Ceri was 17 and Manon was 13. All I could think of was that they would lose their mum at a critical age, and that John would have to be mum and dad to them whilst grieving himself.”
“That’s what prompted me to get online and look for alternatives to the slow death they were offering me.”
“I promised them I would do everything I could to beat it, and that’s what I did.
“My husband and my children drove me on. At times, I wanted to give up and let go, but then I would think of them at my funeral and I would press on.”
Jane, who was given the all clear six years ago, is now urging other cancer sufferers not to give up hope and to do as much research as possible on different treatments.
“There are so many people out there who would benefit but who may not be told about it by their doctor,” she said.
“I don’t want to give false hope to those who would not benefit. There are people out there who are receiving the best treatment possible, but the only way to find out is to look and ask the questions.”
Jane described the CyberKnife treament as “a walk in the park”, adding that she would have the treatment in the morning and go sightseeing in the afternoon.
She was told in September that the chances of cancer returning in the treated area are extremely remote.
“My goal was to live until my youngest was 18, and she’s 22 this year,” said Jane.
“My children have grown up with their mum. Nobody knows what the future holds, but I am just so grateful to have been here for them.”
“I cannot thank the team at WellStar Kennestone CyberKnife and Dr Mclaughlin enough and, without the support of the breast care nurses at Ysbyty Gwynedd, I wouldn’t have been able to get through it.”
“I am – to all intents and purposes – healthy, happy, pain-free and cancer-free, and have been for many years.”