Terminally ill Una Crudden fights on: 'I'm now in palliative care, no chemotherapy left'
She is still fighting – but an inspirational grandmother campaigning to help save lives from ovarian cancer has revealed she has reached the palliative care stage of her own health journey.
Terminally ill cancer campaigner Una Crudden, named Belfast Telegraph's Woman of the Year in February, works to raise greater awareness of ovarian cancer.
Despite her own illness, she continued to lobby the authorities to do more to support women.
But a few days ago the remarkable mother-of-five from Poleglass in west Belfast tweeted she is now receiving palliative care after her chemotherapy treatment ended.
She wrote: "I am now in palliative care with hospice nurse. No chemo left. To my loyal followers I thank you. Keep up pressure. We can do this. I have a mission and I'm not going anywhere until it's done."
Since her terminal cancer diagnosis in 2011 – which followed a misdiagnosis – the determined 60-year-old has toured all over with her awareness message.
Una also uses social media to help highlight ovarian cancer and the issue of limited access to cancer drugs in Northern Ireland.
Last night, she praised the nurses and district nurses who have been caring for her recently.
"They have been fantastic," she said. "There are no more drugs they can give me. It's a bit of a nightmare. I had a tough time in hospital a few weeks ago so I am at the caravan in Waterfoot spending time with my children and grandchildren, getting my head showered."
Una has taken her campaign to Health Minister Edwin Poots.
So far she has gathered more than 3,000 signatures for her online petition calling for Stormont to launch a dedicated campaign for ovarian cancer.
She is also backing the Belfast Telegraph's drive to end the cancer drug postcode lottery that discriminates against people in Northern Ireland. Five life-prolonging drugs are not normally available here, although patients in England can receive them.
She said: "I wasn't able to access the cancer drug Avastin – I will never know if I had taken it, would it have helped extend my life. I was never given that option.
"If there are drugs that can help you have added life you should have access to them. Being given a drug in London but denied it in Belfast is wrong. It is a breach of a human right."
To sign the petition, visit change.org and search for Una Crudden
Symptoms of Ovarian cancer
- Persistent pelvic or abdominal pain
- Increased abdominal size/persistent bloating
- Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
- Urinary symptoms (needing to go to the bathroom more urgently/often than usual)