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Vicky Phelan starts new podcast about legal battle and ongoing cancer treatment in the US


Cervical cancer campaigner Vicky Phelan. Photo: Fergal Phillips

Cervical cancer campaigner Vicky Phelan. Photo: Fergal Phillips

Cervical cancer campaigner Vicky Phelan. Photo: Fergal Phillips

Cervical cancer campaigner Vicky Phelan has started a new podcast with her solicitor about her legal battle and ongoing treatment.

Ms Phelan said today on Twitter that she was “delighted” to launch her new podcast with solicitor Cian O’Carroll, In conversation with Vicky Phelan.

Mr O’Carroll released a short video synopsis of what the podcast will cover, saying: “Back in 2018, I met Vicky Phelan when she was looking for a solicitor to help her fight her case.

“She went on to win that case, and uncovered a shocking healthcare scandal that has affected so many women and families across Ireland. We also became friends.

"Vicky went on to fight one campaign after another for women’s healthcare in Ireland. And all the time fighting for her own life, fighting for more time.

“This is a series of conversations where Vicky and I discuss what went wrong in CervicalCheck, how those fatal and life changing mistakes happened, and look at what Vicky has achieved since she’s become an advocate for change.”

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While the podcast will cover Ms Phelan’s own legal battle, the first episode focused on her current treatment in the US. Since January, she has been undergoing an experimental medical trial in an effort to treat her cancer.

“When I decided to come over here it was based on scans I had in September at St Vincents’ Hospital,” she said. “And things looked like they were increasing. So we did biopsies actually of two lymph nodes just to confirm that it was indeed tumor growth and not just inflammation.

“Because sometimes the immunotherapy drugs can inflame lymph nodes and make it look like there’s a growth, and that has happened to me in the past. But this was true tumour growth. And then there was also the evidence of a new tumour. So I have a new tumour in my lung but it’s quite small.

“So at that stage I remember speaking to the doctor on the trial over here about a year ago. A year prior to kind of when I started on this trial. And he said the time to move would be when I have new tumours.”

Ms Phelan said she would have been able to start the trial last December, but decided not to in order to celebrate Christmas with her family, not knowing whether it would be their last one together.

The first episode was filmed on Ash Wednesday, February 17, and as such it was not yet clear whether Ms Phelan’s treatment was effective. She said that if there was no shrinkage in any of her tumours, she would be taken off the trial.

“I’ll be taken off the regime because obviously it’s not working,” she said. “Because they know from previous patients who have been on the trial that generally they would see a reaction after eight weeks. So if there’s no reaction after eight weeks, that’s it.

“So I’m already looking at other trials here, because my logic is that if this doesn’t work, I need to stay here and find another trial to get on. Because I’m here now, there’s nothing to go back to at home treatment wise, so I’ll have to find something to keep me here.”

However, yesterday Ms Phelan said she hopes to be allowed to return to Ireland for a short break following positive signs that her experimental treatment is working.

Appearing on Virgin Media’s Six O’Clock Show, she said: “At the moment, I am stable, which is always good at this stage of the disease. But I am still only on half the dose and we agreed that I would wait until May, I have another scan coming up then, and we should hopefully see a better improvement and more shrinkage of the tumours.”

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