A Dun Laoghaire woman with NETs has been named as patient ambassador for a new awareness campaign.
Andrea Martin lives with neuroendocrine tumours (NETS) which is a group of rare slow growing cancers.
NET Patient Network and pharmaceutical company Novartis have launched the ‘expand your network’ campaign, in advance of the global awareness day on November 10, to help raise awareness of the cancers and the impact they can have on a person’s quality of life.
Andrea is a self-employed lawyer specialising in media and entertainment law. She said she was diagnosed with NETs in 2015.
“For years leading up to my diagnosis I was experiencing episodes of extreme pain and nausea, I constantly had problems with my digestion.
“I had a gastroscopy, blood tests and an ultrasound, but nothing ever showed up.
“During one particularly bad episode, my sister convinced me to visit Blackrock Clinic, that’s when I had a CT scan and they discovered the tumour on my pancreas.
“I was very lucky that the surgeon on call that weekend was a NET specialist who decided more investigation was needed.
“I was taken into the care of the NET Clinic at SVUH. They couldn’t have been kinder to me, they were incredible.”
Andrea had an operation and is not afraid of the cancer returning because she knows there is something that can be done if it does come back.
“They told me they were going to operate and that I would be fine. It was such a reassurance and I really got a new lease of life from that. I was assured from the start if you are to get a cancer diagnosis, this is a good one to get.
“They were so reassuring the whole way through. They removed the entirety of the tumour and monitor me annually.”
Andrea said she would like to see GPs and Oncologists develop a greater awareness of NETs so they know to look out for it and can work in collaboration with NET specialists to detect it early.
Her message to people who get the diagnosis is: “It is not a terminal diagnosis, there is so much that can be done.
“Don’t panic, this is a slow growing tumour, there are a lot of treatment options available. Between the NET Patient Network and the NET specialist team, there is a wealth of support out there.”
As part of the campaign, NET Patient Network is also inviting all people in Dublin living with NETs to attend their annual event which is taking place on Saturday 3rd November in the Devere Hall, University College Cork.
To register for the event email firstname.lastname@example.org and for more information visit www.netpatientnetwork.ie