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Lynn's Story

Lynne knows she is one of the lucky ones - not often a word associated with cholangiocarcinoma, a rare and aggressive cancer of the bile ducts. 

More than 10 years after being diagnosed, Lynne has shared her story to highlight the importance of catching cancers of the digestive system early and listening to that ‘little voice.’ 

It was a comment to the gastroenterologist on a routine colonoscopy that set the wheels in motion for investigations into the cause of something that felt like a “fingernail scratching from the inside”. Lynne was sent off for an ultrasound which showed a tumour the size of a golf ball in her liver. Further tests to check if the tumour had metastasised showed that it was caught before it spread and with the ability to operate. Lynne had 2/3rd of her liver removed and her gallbladder and had her bile ducts reconstructed. She was given the option of a 6-month course of chemotherapy to ‘mop up’ any potential lingering cancer cells and decided to take it. All together it was several months of recovery and has had no issues as a result of the surgery. 

In the months that followed, Lynne began to realise the gravity of her diagnosis. She had never heard of cholangiocarcinoma before her diagnosis, and she didn’t fit the profile as a healthy 47-year-old female. It was hard to find information on it as it is not as well researched as other cancers. “The statistics are really confronting. There is no difference between me and another person with the same diagnosis, except I had luck on my side. Other people aren’t quite so lucky, through no fault of their own.”  

In fact, her own family was touched again by cholangiocarcinoma. Her brother-in-law was diagnosed 4 years after her. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed too late and passed away around a year and a half later. Later again, a friend Ginnie lost her husband to the same illness.  

Lynne agreed to share her story to raise awareness of cholangiocarcinoma during Gallbladder & Bile Duct Awareness Month and urges people to listen to their instincts and pay attention to and changes. “I think you know when something is wrong. You need to listen to that voice.” 

Last year Lynne participated in GIVE IT UP For Gut Cancer along with her sister, and Ginnie “I think we all want to see more research and more treatment options for this disease. We gave up sugar for the month, this year I'm going to do all three! Anything to help!”