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Lung cancer survival makes my research worthwhile

Corinne is researching new ways of using radiotherapy to treat people with lung cancer.

Corrine-Faivre-Finn-researcher-portrait (2)

Today, I've seen someone in my clinic who I first treated for lung cancer several years ago.

It's not a one-off. Every week I speak to people who have fought back against their cancer for years. That didn't happen very often when I first became a consultant.

People didn't live for long after finding out they had lung cancer. There wasn't much research happening in the field of radiotherapy. I've always felt that more needed to be done - there are lots of opportunities to make a big difference.

I want to make that difference.

My research

Right now I'm working with the British Lung Foundation and Cancer Research UK on a research trial that I think is really exciting.

Radiotherapy is a one-size-fits-all treatment at the moment. We give everyone the same dose and the same number of treatments.

My research is taking a different approach. We're giving people a higher dose than usual and we're doing that twice a day instead of just once.

Most importantly, we're giving everyone a different dose. Everyone's treatment is chosen to match their characteristics, where the tumour is and the stage it's at.

We're using a form of advanced radiotherapy technique which isn't available to treat lung cancer in all UK centres, called intensity modulated radiotherapy. That means we can give each person the maximum dose we know they can tolerate.

The idea is that we can control the tumour more effectively - and hopefully help more people survive for longer.

Why I do it

Speaking to people who are surviving (and surviving longer and longer) is why I'm so passionate about my work.

They're always so grateful. It's fantastic.

I've found that people with lung cancer are really keen to take part in research, even when it's too late to benefit them. They just want to help other people in the future, and make sure that treatments keep on improving.

There's still so much to do. While some other cancers have very good survival rates, 90% of people with lung cancer die within 5 years. We need to change that.

It's not just about donations. We need more people to come forward and tell their stories. We need more people to talk about how important lung cancer research is. And we need more people to tell their MPs that research is the best way to save lives.

I want everybody to start talking about this disease more. We rely on you to make research like this happen.

Can you help by making a donation today?

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11 November 2015