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Vicky Phelan has returned home for palliative care after news of further tumour growth


By Sarah Finnan
04th Oct 2021

Vicky Phelan / Instagram

Vicky Phelan has returned home for palliative care after news of further tumour growth

Back in Ireland for palliative chemotherapy, mum of two Vicky Phelan said that she ultimately decided to come home so she could spend some time with her family.

Social media lit up for Vicky Phelan as she made the journey over to the US for treatment earlier this year, but the cervical cancer campaigner has since returned home after a recent scan showed that she had developed a number of new tumours. 

First diagnosed with terminal cervical cancer in 2014, after a false negative smear three years earlier, Phelan was one of the first to take a case against the State for the controversy. Last November, Vicky shared that her cancer was growing again and opted to move to the US alone for a months-long clinical trial that could potentially slow the growth of her tumours. Initially, the treatment seemed to be working; she reported no new tumours in March and said that three existing cancerous tumours had shrunk slightly, while only one had increased minimally. There had been “no significant change to [her] disease status”, according to her radiologist, and Vicky remained hopeful for the coming months. 

In mid-September, Vicky revealed that she had been deemed eligible for proton beam therapy at Georgetown University Hospital, but now two weeks later and the situation has changed once again. Sharing a photo of a sign that reads “good news bad news” over on her Instagram, Vicky updated followers as to what the new plan is. 

“Unfortunately, following a PET scan which my radiation oncologist at Georgetown University Hospital ordered, I have some new tumours,” she wrote. “I have two new tumours in my neck but the worrying one is a new tumour on my bowel… This means that I am no longer eligible for proton beam therapy since my tumours are far too extensive, i.e. I have too much disease in my body for them to zap!”

Continuing to say that the recommendation now is for her to return home for systemic therapy, or palliative chemotherapy, Vicky revealed that all of this happened over the space of just a few days. “Decisions had to be made very quickly,” she added. “With a very heavy heart, I made the decision to return home to Ireland. I returned home earlier this week and am taking the time to reconnect with my kids and to absorb this news before I start down the chemotherapy road.”

As for the “good” news, Vicky still managed to see the silver lining in the situation and told followers that this treatment will help to keep her alive “until Christmas at least”. About to embark on a course of chemo that is “extremely toxic”, Vicky knows that it will take its toll on both her body and her mind. Pre-warning the public that she will only be posting online “very sporadically”, the Kilkenny native finished by thanking people for their support, kindness and generosity, which “continue to lift [her] and keep [her] going”. 

A beacon of positivity and hope for countless women across the country, the nation is still very much behind Vicky and her post was flooded with thousands of encouraging comments from supporters.