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Brave Emma believes she has beaten cancer for ninth time

Irish author Emma Hannigan believes she has beaten cancer for the ninth time.

Courageous Emma had successfully fought off breast cancer on eight different occasions since 2007, before relapsing once again last year.

The mother-of-two from Bray, Co Wicklow, has spent much of the past year undergoing intensive radiotherapy and chemotherapy after the disease spread to lymph nodes in her head and neck.

But yesterday the relieved author said she had responded well to treatment and expects to be given the all-clear in an upcoming scan.

And the 41-year-old, who along with boxer Katie Taylor is an official ambassador of her native Bray, said she hopes this time she has finally beaten the disease.

"It's been a very tough year. I'd been in remission for about a year-and-a-half up to last year when the cancer came back," she said.

tumours

"There were tumours in my neck and the back of my head, so it wasn't one of the more pleasant experiences I've had.

"Either side of last Christmas I had 25 sessions of radiotherapy, 50 in total, and have been on chemotherapy since then.

"But I've received excellent treatment and the drugs have definitely worked. I'm pretty sure I'm back in remission because I can't feel any tumours any more, but I'm continuing chemotherapy for the moment to be certain."

Emma first learned she had the hereditary BrCa1 gene in 2005, which gives carriers an 85pc chance of developing breast cancer and a 50pc chance of developing ovarian cancer.

She made the brave decision to undergo a double mastectomy, breast reconstruction surgery and have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed.

But, to the astonishment of specialists at Blackrock Clinic in Dublin, she continued to face a battle including a dark period in 2010 when she was diagnosed no less than four times.

"It's like a constant merry-go-round and I won't be surprised at all if the cancer returns," Emma added. "I also feel I'm extremely lucky that I'm still alive."

Emma's new book, The Heart of Winter, is out now.

hnews@herald.ie


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