Archive for August 12th, 2010

A pair of identical twin sisters who grew up together and faced the same terrible battle against breast cancer have been given some heartbreaking news.
Only one of them will survive.

Judith Brownhill and Heather Mole, 54, were diagnosed with the same form of the killer disease within two months of each other.

Identical twins Heather Mole and Judith Brownhill have both beaten breast cancer in the past. But Heather is now terminally ill while Judith has been given the all clear after they both developed it again

They started treatment at almost the same time, under the care of the same consultant.

But now tragically their paths have split. While Judith has got the all-clear Heather has been told she is terminally ill.
Heather, a retired nurse from Mossley, said she was relieved when she heard her sister was in remission – because she would be able to ‘watch out’ for her only son, Robert Pullan, 30.

She said: ‘It was wonderful news when she told me she was OK, even though I knew it would be tough for her to tell me.

‘It’s strange, but it felt like a relief as much as anything, as I knew she would be there for my son when I’m gone. Cancer is a cruel disease, but it is the best news ever that Judith is recovering – I wouldn’t want it any other way.’

The sisters, who are originally from Ashton under Lyne, Greater Manchester, have always had a close bond, but say that their relationship has been strengthened by their desperate fight for life.

Both had fought breast cancer before and won – Heather 20 years ago and Judith a decade ago.

Then Judith felt something wasn’t right when she was on holiday in Bermuda with husband Roger, 70, in September 2008.

When she returned home, she went to her GP and tests confirmed she had breast cancer again.

Her diagnosis convinced her twin to get checked out and just weeks later she discovered she also had the disease a second time. Sadly, Heather’s cancer was more advanced and had spread to her liver.

Heather said she was glad her sister will survive as she can look out for her son
Judith, who lives in Prestbury, Cheshire, was given an aggressive dose of chemotherapy and radiotherapy and has just finished a course of the breast cancer drug Herceptin.

Last week, she got the all-clear from doctors, but described the news as ‘bittersweet’.

She said: ‘As identical twins we’ve done everything together. We even had the same childhood illnesses, so in a strange way it does not surprise me that we both have the same illness now.

‘I should have been punching the air when I finished my treatment and got the all-clear, but instead I was tearful at the thought of losing my sister.

‘It’s the worst blow you could be dealt, but seeing Heather so happy for me makes me appreciate life and want to live every moment for her and make the most of my chance at life.’

The sisters have a family history of breast cancer. Their mum Sheila Pendlebury, 81, was hit by the disease 13 years ago and their aunt was struck down at 37.

Heather said: ‘We feel like our case is one in a million. We are unlucky but feel philosophical – I’ve had a good 20 years of life and have seen my son grow up. I am grateful for every day I get with my wonderful family.

‘In a weird way, Judith getting cancer the second time probably prolonged my life as it persuaded me to get checked out. It was a huge bombshell but I’m just grateful one of us has got through it.’

The twins are both undergoing treatment at The Christie and St Ann’s Hospice’s Neil Cliffe Centre, in Wythenshawe.

Their consultant, Dr Sacha Howell from The Christie, said their story was ‘incredibly rare’.

Experts say the risk of women getting breast cancer is one in nine. But for identical twins of women already diagnosed with breast cancer the risk rises to one in three.

The twins praised their treatment and are now set to take centre stage on the catwalk for a charity event for the St Ann’s Hospice in Manchester.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1302406/Agony-breast-cancer-twins-sister-given-clear-told-terminal.html?ITO=socialnet-twitter-mailonline#ixzz0wPcTGbK0

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