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Case in point: Lesley-Anne’s story

Lesley-Anne's story

Lesley-Anne Robins was living in Canada with her husband and two young children when she was first diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Her Canadian oncologist recommended Barts and The London for treatment when the family returned to England.

Lesley-Anne travels regularly to London from her family home in Bedfordshire for treatment at Barts.  In the past few years, she has suffered two serious relapses, which resulted in long stays in hospital.

Most recently, Lesley-Anne underwent a bone marrow transplant – a treatment with the potential to cure – as the disease had become aggressive and she was very sick with a lymphoma in her back.  The initial signs are positive.

“With such transplants, donated stem cells are fed into the recipient’s bloodstream intravenously,” explains Professor of Cancer Immunology John Gribben.  “They then find their way back through the blood to the bone marrow and if successful, they replicate to help fight the lymphoma.” 

“My treatment meant that I had to be in isolation, so didn’t see my children for long periods of time,” says Lesley-Anne.  “But the support I had from the doctors and nurses was incredible and their positive feedback really kept me going.”

Since the transplant in March 2006, Lesley-Anne has stopped her immune-suppressant therapy and is already feeling better, although it usually takes a year to fully recover from a bone marrow transplant.

“Barts has given me my life back. I know it’s the best place in the world to be treated.”

What is Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma?

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma affects the white blood cells, causing them to multiply uncontrollably and collect in the lymph nodes. Although patients are able to live normal lives when in remission, the disease can be very debilitating and it can be difficult to detect.