A mother, who is seeking life-saving treatment, has revealed the tennis ball-sized tumours that have erupted from her breast after being diagnosed with cancer and favouring a vegan diet rather than chemotherapy.
Nina Collins, from Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, has bravely shared photographs of the three cauliflower-like lumps growing from her right breast even after undergoing intense radiotherapy.
The horse riding instructor, 59, was diagnosed with HER2 positive breast cancer – an aggressive form of breast cancer – in February 2018 and decided to try a vegan diet and supplements instead of chemotherapy.
She claimed: ‘I just felt that [the treatment] would kill me, it would wipe out my immune system. Even my consultant recognises how the protocol I chose positively impacted my health and stopped the cancer spreading throughout my torso.’
However, the painful 14cm by 6cm mass eventually worsened and Nina, who has to dress the weeping tumours three times a day, is now raising funds for potentially life-saving holistic cellular treatment in Spain after receiving her final radiotherapy course.
Nina Collins (pictured left), from Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, has bravely shared photographs of the three lumps (pictured right) growing from her right breast even after she succumbed to intense radiotherapy
The horse riding instructor (pictured), 59, was diagnosed with HER2 positive breast cancer – an aggressive form of breast cancer – in February 2018 and decided to try a vegan diet and supplements instead of chemotherapy
Nina (pictured in hospital in 2019) claimed: ‘I just felt that [the treatment] would kill me, it would wipe out my immune system. Even my consultant recognises how the protocol I chose positively impacted my health and stopped the cancer spreading throughout my torso’
Following a final round of radiotherapy in October, which will have worn off by Christmas Day, Nina was told by medics that the NHS can now only offer palliative care because her mass is likely to grow further.
Determined to tackle the disease, Nina has set her sights on pioneering holistic cellular treatment in Spain, which is due to start on December 8 and aims to treat the cells at their base level, and has set up a GoFundMe page to raise £20,000.
WHAT IS HER2 POSITIVE BREAST CANCER?
HER2 positive breast cancer accounts for around one in five cases of the disease, which strikes 55,200 each year in the UK and 268,600 American women.
It is a breast cancer that tests positive for a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). This protein promotes the growth of cancer cells.
The tumours tend to be more aggressive than other types. An abnormality in the HER2 gene causes cells to grow and multiply at a rapid rate.
Survival rates are usually considered good – most patients diagnosed with breast cancer early are expected to live at least five years.
This drops to just 22 per cent in those at the metastatic stage, which isn’t considered curable. Treatment is used to extend life, but may stop working.
Source: Mayo Clinic
Nina said: ‘It’s like having a ticking time bomb on your chest because if they can’t do any more radiotherapy to push it back, then I have to find another way.
‘The tumours “eat” through the skin and then start to ulcerate and openly weep. The red skin is burning all over the breast from the radiotherapy treatment.’
She added: ‘I wanted to go to one of these clinics back in 2018 but I couldn’t bring myself to ask people to fundraise until I tried myself with the NHS.
‘I couldn’t justify asking people to donate when I hadn’t done absolutely everything I could. I had to get to the end of the line and hear the doctor say “all I can offer you is palliative treatment now”.
‘I remember thinking “Oh my god these things will just keep growing and they will explode so now I have to ask for help”. ‘Looking in the mirror and seeing it is just awful.
‘There’s not a day when I’m dressing it where I just hope and pray that the cellular biologist will be able to heal me from the inside out.’
Nina, who lives with 21-year-old son Aaron Collins, was diagnosed in February 2018 after finding a lump while in the shower.
After undergoing a mammogram and ultrasound at Thirlestone Breast Centre in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, Nina was told the devastating news that she had HER2 breast cancer – a very aggressive form of cancer.
Specialists advised her to undergo immediate chemotherapy but Nina decided against it, choosing instead to embrace a vegan diet and take cancer-fighting supplements.
Nina said: ‘I went into shock, I honestly couldn’t believe it. When the consultant told me it was cancer I just couldn’t take it in. I remember driving home and thinking “this can’t be real”, it took days for it to actually sink in.
However, the painful 14cm by 6cm mass eventually worsened (pictured after radiotherapy) and Nina is now raising funds for potentially life-saving treatment in Spain after receiving her final radiotherapy treatment
Nina, who lives with 21-year-old son Aaron Collins (pictured together), was diagnosed in February 2018 after finding a lump while in the shower
‘They wanted me to have immediate treatment and I made my own choices about that, I felt in my gut it wasn’t the right path for me.’
However in July 2019, Nina was hospitalised at Cheltenham A&E after the tumour ruptured a blood vessel causing a massive bleed.
In August 2019, Nina’s oncology consultant at Stroud Hospital discovered the tumours had grown significantly to about the size of a tennis ball and she was advised to have ten radiotherapy sessions.
The treatment last August seemed to tackle them, but by February 2020 the tumours began to grow back. A subsequent trial treatment of injections and tablets in July failed to successfully fight it and the tumours rapidly grew to 14cm long.
Radiotherapy treatment last August seemed to tackle the tumours, but by February 2020 they began to grow back (pictured)
Following a final round of radiotherapy in October, which will have worn off by Christmas Day, Nina (pictured) was told by medics that the NHS can now only offer palliative care as her mass is likely to grow further
After researching different options, Nina’s sister Amanda discovered the clinic in Spain that focuses on holistic cellular treatment. Pictured, Nina’s tumours
In a last-ditch attempt to reduce the tumours, specialists gave Nina another five days of radiotherapy in October. But due to the amount of treatment she’s had she’s now unable to have any more radiation and can now only be offered palliative care on the NHS.
After researching different options, Nina’s sister Amanda discovered the clinic in Spain that focuses on holistic cellular treatment, and which is allowing her to pay on a weekly basis. The treatment consists of two weeks of five-hour treatments a day.
Nina said: ‘My sister Amanda, who lives in California, got in touch when she heard I was having more radiotherapy and advised me to look into it.
Nina with friends from her church, Marian Matthews (pictured left) and Gillian Lelerre (pictured right)
‘The treatment is in Marbella and I’m looking to raise £20,000. So far I’ve used £5,000 for the clinic deposit to book treatment, plus accommodation and flights.
‘My current radiotherapy treatment lasts ten weeks but it’s wearing off, the ten weeks is up on Christmas Day.’
She added: ‘I hope the next stage will get rid of it for good and allow me to start campaigning for this to be more widely available.
‘Aaron has been a huge support through all this, he’s taken me to every appointment and stuck right with me. It’s a huge source of strength and huge motivation to get well for him.’