Oct 17 2013 by Joe Thomas, Ormskirk Advertiser
AN INSPIRATIONAL scientist who has battled cancer in eight places in the past six years has been given the all clear.
Susan Welch, from Ormskirk, is in remission after receiving the good news from cancer specialists.
Now the 56-year-old is dedicating herself to helping others who are going through the same experiences she has endured for years.
Susan was first diagnosed with cancer in 2007 and within three years the disease had spread throughout her body.
The Unilever research scientist said: “I have had breast cancer in eight places in total – breast, lymph nodes, both lungs, both liver lobes and spine and neck. I am in remission at present and hope to be for a long time. I first found out I had breast cancer in 2007, then it had spread throughout my body by 2010.
“I’ve had treatment off and on for the past six years. It’s been quite horrendous at times. I’ve experienced human suffering but I’m still here – I’m a fighter.”
But while Susan has overcome cancer, she has to live with the side effects of years of surgery. According to the scientist, the worst of those is lymphoedema, a common long-term side effect of breast cancer surgery which causes swelling.
She said: “This is the most distressing side effect. It involves so much care, effort, forward planning, creative thinking and determination in order to try to manage the condition. It’s painful, disfiguring and it aches. You can’t get clothes to fit you and in the worst case scenario lymphoedema can lead to loss of mobility, infections and tissue damage. It can’t be cured but you can control it.”
Susan, who was born in Ormskirk but now lives in Cheshire, is aiming to raise £150,000 to fund research into lymphoedema. She has already raised thousands of pounds and at the weekend 18 of her work colleagues walked 22 miles from Port Sunlight, where she works, to Pulford, Cheshire, dressed as mad scientists to contribute to her fundraising efforts. Grateful for the support, she said: “It feels quite amazing really, I feel humbled by what my work colleagues have done.”
For more details and to donate, visit www.justgiving.com/susan-welch1