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Survivor of rare cancer praises NHS after clinical trial

PUBLISHED: 07:30 25 April 2019

From left: Evangelos Mallidis (breast consultant), Julie Calcluth (breast care nurse), Kirstie Boxall, Caroline Mortimer (breast consultant) and Sarah Gill (breast care secretary) Pictures: ESNEFT

From left: Evangelos Mallidis (breast consultant), Julie Calcluth (breast care nurse), Kirstie Boxall, Caroline Mortimer (breast consultant) and Sarah Gill (breast care secretary) Pictures: ESNEFT

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A woman from Woodbridge who survived a rare form of breast cancer has praised Ipswich and Colchester hospitals following her successful treatment.

Kirstie during her treatment for triple negative breast cancer at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals. Picture: ESNEFTKirstie during her treatment for triple negative breast cancer at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals. Picture: ESNEFT

Kirstie Boxall, 54, was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in 2017 – a rare and more aggressive form of the disease affecting between 10 to 20% of patients.

In addition to the cancer, she was later diagnosed with neutropenic sepsis, another life-threatening condition to battle alongside the illness.

Despite her illnesses, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Kirstie remained positive and cheerful throughout her treatment – adding there was always someone in a far worse position than herself.

“Huge thanks also goes to all the departments at both Ipswich and Colchester hospitals that treated me,” she said. “I feel very privileged to have received the care and expertise that I have and continue to do so.

Kirstie Boxall swam the length of the English Channel at Ufford Park near Woodbridge following her successful fight against cancer and sepsis. Picture: ESNEFTKirstie Boxall swam the length of the English Channel at Ufford Park near Woodbridge following her successful fight against cancer and sepsis. Picture: ESNEFT

“The NHS is truly an amazing service.”

As part of her treatment, Kirstie was invited to take part in a clinical trial, which included seven cycles of chemotherapy over five months.

She added: “I would also like to help raise the profile of triple negative breast cancer.

“By being able to be part of the clinical trial of the 'partner study', I hope it helps in some way to find a cure for this uncommon type of breast cancer.

“I felt very lucky to be part of the trial and although it was a particularly gruelling treatment, I met some wonderful people who are very special to me.”

Following her successful recovery in January 2018, Kirstie took the bold decision to swim the length of the English Channel over 35 consecutive days in Ufford Park swimming pool, raising more than £3,000 for the hospital's Blossom Appeal which aims to build a new breast care centre at Ipswich Hospital.

“Feeling like I have over the last two years, I never thought that I would be in a position to be able to do this,” she said.

“Although it was a struggle, I had this hair-brained idea in my head since last November as I wanted to give something back and I needed a goal.

“I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the donations and I have had such amazing support from so many, such as the invaluable team at the John Le Vay cancer support centre at Ipswich Hospital.

“They have been instrumental in putting me and my family back on our feet.”

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