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A gran was told she had just four years to live after being diagnosed with a rare bone marrow cancer.
Anne Juliff, 69, barely had an appetite and lost 10 pounds in weight without trying during the Covid pandemic, prompting a visit to her doctor.
The retired piano teacher was previously diagnosed with a blood cancer called polycythaemia vera 12 years ago, synthroid and ms but the condition was managed.
A biopsy revealed that this cancer had developed into myelofibrosis – a rare bone marrow cancer.
Doctors warned Anne that she had “four years to live” if she didn’t find a donor, and more than two years later, she’s still without a match.
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She has turned to charity Anthony Nolan for help – and the charity have trawled their entire database without success.
Now the Gran-of-three is campaigning for more people to join the donor register.
Anne, from Camberwell in south London, said: “I am an upbeat person – if I get bad news it hits me for a couple of days and then I get on with life.
“It is a scary situation but I haven’t given up on getting a donor yet.
“If it doesn’t work out, they have done everything they could. The NHS have given me the best treatment possible.
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“I won’t be left thinking ‘if only’ I have been very lucky with the treatment I have received so far.”
Anne is currently taking momelotinib – an anti-cancer medication used for the treatment of myelofibrosis.
She was prescribed this after she became fatigued and couldn’t move while on holiday in Mallorca in 2022.
Anne said this changed her life and now she can’t feel the effects of her cancer.
“It can’t keep the cancer at bay but it is keeping my haemoglobin levels high,” she explained.
“It is easy for me to get on day to day and forget about it.”
Anne is in need of a stem cell transplant – where unhealthy cells are replaced with healthy stem cells.
She added: “It was three months ago since they last checked for me and there was no donor.
“During the last eight months, in the beginning especially, I was hopeful.
“Now I am on these new drugs, I don’t think about my cancer often.
“I know that my life expectancy is short. Four years have been mentioned and I have had two years of that.
“But over time there are new treatments and drugs that come out so I am still hopeful.”
To join the stem cell register visit anthonynolan.org/help-save-a-life/join-stem-cell-register.
According to Cancer Research UK, symptoms of myelofibrosis include:
- Tiredness and shortness of breath – due to low numbers of red blood cells
- Bleeding and bruising easily – due to low numbers of platelets
- Pain and discomfort in the tummy (abdomen) due to enlarged spleen and liver
- Bone pain
- Gout – you might have painful, stiff or swollen joints
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Fever and night sweats
- Very itchy skin.
If you experience symptoms you should speak to your GP.
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