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I can't wait to walk down aisle after battling cancer says bride-to-be Sabrina

A YOUNG bride-to-be is looking forward to her dream wedding in August -- after battling a rare form of cancer.

Sabrina McNamee (28), a non-smoker, was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer last January -- but thanks to treatment is now doing well.

The first sign that something was wrong was when Sabrina began getting pains in her shoulder. "I thought it was a tag rugby injury," she said.

However, she then developed flu-like symptoms and, despite taking two different antibiotics, couldn't shift a cough and felt tired.

In January 2010, an X-ray and tests were carried out, and Sabrina found out she had non-small cell signet ring cancer.

She said both she and her family found the Irish Cancer Society's website www.cancer.ie a great help when she was diagnosed. It is one of the services funded by Daffodil Day which takes place this Friday, March 25.

"I underwent treatment in the Mater oncology unit," she said. Sabrina had two different types of chemotherapy over nine months. Fortunately, she did not lose her hair during this time.

Her doctor at the Mater found an oral chemotherapy US drug trial for the type of cell found in Sabrina's cancer and proposed that she take part in a clinical trial at St James's.

Sabrina was subsequently selected to take part in an ongoing international clinical trial. It involves taking three different tablets, twice a day.

"I first started the drug last November, and the difference is unreal," she said.

Sabrina is now back working twice a week as an assistant fashion buyer for Dunnes Stores, and is also attending the gym. "I am feeling great and have made really good progress," she said.

Sabrina, who is originally from Armagh, but now lives in Dublin, is looking forward to getting married in August to her fiance Paul Ryan (32). The reception will be held in The Heritage, Killenard.

Speaking in advance of Daffodil Day, John McCormack, CEO of the Irish Cancer Society said: "Ireland's cancer rate is one of the highest in the world.

"One in three of us will be diagnosed with cancer during our lifetime, and it is estimated that by 2020, 40,000 new cases will be diagnosed.

"This means there is an ever increasing demand for the direct patient care services provided by the Irish Cancer Society."

Figures show that specialist cancer care nurses responded to 21,000 inquiries to the cancer information service, which includes the freefone helpline, in 2010. This was an increase of 10pc on the previous year's figures.

Around 41pc of inquiries were from newly diagnosed people in the 40-plus age group.

fdillon@herald.ie