Lowestoft family aims to support new cancer campaign

Cancer survivor Sam Fordham, 44, her husband Neil and their daughter Molly, from Lowestoft.

Cancer survivor Sam Fordham, 44, her husband Neil and their daughter Molly, from Lowestoft. - Credit: Archant

A Lowestoft woman, who was shocked to discover that a small mouth ulcer was in fact a tumour, is standing up to cancer with the support of her family.

Sam Fordham, 44, and her husband Neil, 40, were joined by their five-year old daughter Molly, to show their support for Stand Up To Cancer – a joint fund-raising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4 – which aims to raise money to fund vital research for new and better treatments.

Mrs Fordham, who works as a travel manager for Co-Operative Travel in Lowestoft, is urging people to back the campaign and help raise money at work, school or at home.

Having never smoked, nor drunk heavily, Mrs Fordham had no idea there was anything seriously wrong when she mentioned a small tongue ulcer to her doctor in November 2013. She recalled: 'It wasn't in my consciousness that it could be mouth cancer. I had the biopsy under local anaesthetic and then got on with things. I was going to go and get the results on my own but my husband Neil said he would come with me. The specialist said to us, I am so sorry it's as much as a surprise to me but it's cancer. I went in unprepared; I wasn't expecting to hear that,' she admitted.

'My daughter was three years old when I was diagnosed. We told her, 'mummy has a bug in her mouth that has to be cut out'. Every now and then she looks at it and says, will the bug come back? I say I don't think so.'

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Mrs Fordham, of Long Road, faced major surgery – a nine hour procedure which involved transplanting an artery and skin from her arm into her tongue. For six months she could not eat solid food. She also elected to have the lymph nodes in her neck removed to reduce the chance of the cancer returning. She said: 'I'm really lucky because the tumour was Stage 1 or T1 that means it's treatable. I was in high dependency after the operation, I couldn't eat and was wired up to all sorts of drugs.'

Early diagnosis meant Mrs Fordham did not have to go through chemotherapy or radiotherapy. She has regular check-ups and had to have another biopsy and an MRI last summer after feeling a tingling on her tongue - luckily the results came back all clear.

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Stand Up to Cancer has already raised more than £23.8million and to show your support for the campaign visit www.standuptocancer.org.uk

For a video about this story, visit: https://youtu.be/D55p7YkhJX4

Got a Lowestoft story? Email joe.randlesome@archant.co.uk

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