A brave mum who has been battling incurable breast cancer for eight years will receive her 100th treatment this week.
Chantele Rashbrook, 49, is so determined to carry on her life as usual she thinks her children sometimes forget she has cancer and she has to remind them.
The mum-of-two did not let her diagnosis slow her down, arranging fitness classes, family time and running marathons around her chemotherapy sessions.
Every three weeks, Chantele receives gruelling cancer treatment at the Viking Day Unit at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital where she is due to receive her 100th treatment this week in Margate, Kent.
Chantele, a cleaner from Deal, Kent, said: “Sometimes I think my children forget I have cancer, and there are times when I have to remind them.
“It’s just part of life now; something I just do.
“I have treatment every third Thursday and feel a bit under the weather on the Friday and Saturday.
“I do have some side effects, like my toes and fingertips are a bit numb and my tongue is quite sore and sensitive so I can’t eat certain foods.
“But when I think about the alternative, it’s nothing. It doesn’t stop me from doing anything I want to do.”
Chantele was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 and had a mastectomy followed by chemotherapy, radiotherapy and reconstructive surgery.
But she was shocked to learn the cancer returned and spread to her lymph nodes and lung two years later.
She said: “When I was first diagnosed, it was a real shock. I was at my fittest and it was just unbelievable.
“When I found another lump in my neck two years later I thought it must just be a raised gland.
“Even the breast care nurses thought it couldn’t be anything because I had recovered so well.
“But it turned out to be the cancer, and this time they said it was incurable.
“That’s a hard word to hear but thanks to the research and new drug treatments there is a lot they can do to treat it, and to keep the tumours as small as possible.
“After five rounds of a different drug I was able to start on Kadcyla and I will have my 100th treatment this week.
“I’ll be on it forever unless it stops working and then they will just find another drug that will work.”
Thanks to Kadcyla, Chantele’s tumours shrank significantly and she now has scans every four months to make sure they are not regrowing.
Following her diagnosis, she has launched a breast cancer support group, a running group and completed many running challenges including a marathon and half marathon, raising thousands of pounds for charity.
She said: “I try to inspire others going through cancer.
“I am a very positive person and I think that makes a huge difference with recovery.
“There was a time that I couldn’t think ahead because the demons would creep in but I don’t think like that any more.
“I just live my life and don’t let it bother me.
“I did have a scare last year with a lump but it was checked and it wasn’t anything to worry about.
“I was seen very quickly and I can’t fault the care I have received.”
Chantele’s treatment has continued during the coronavirus pandemic and she followed government advice to shield at home when the virus was at its peak.
She added: “The treatment hasn’t felt any different apart from the fact that we’re all wearing masks and we have our temperatures taken.
“The girls there are amazing and I feel very safe. I am part of the furniture there after so long, and everyone really is fantastic with the care they give.”