A 21-year-old from Salford who is being treated for a rare form of cancer is looking forward to Christmas with her family.

After recently finishing her treatment for Ewing sarcoma, a cancer that affects bones or the tissue surrounding them, Leyla Soncul will have a scan in January to find out if it has been a success.

“I’m hopeful it has gone well,” she said.

“I used to be reliant on a wheelchair, but now my pain has gone and I’m back to being mobile. I feel stronger and healthier than I have done in months.

“I’ve still got to be careful with Covid-19 still around, but I’m really looking forward to a family Christmas with my parents and putting my treatment behind me.”

Leyla was diagnosed with a Ewing sarcoma in her pelvis back in April this year.

“I had a scan because I’d been in pain and they found a mass in my pelvis and then I received a phone call to tell me it was cancer,” she said.

Following her diagnosis, Leyla was referred to The Christie NHS Foundation Trust – a specialist cancer hospital in Manchester.

Leyla, who lives with her parents, said: “It was very strange to receive such life-changing news by telephone,” as a result of Covid-19 restrictions, meaning she could not visit the hospital in person to receive her diagnosis.

The 21-year-old visited The Christie the next day, but as a result of the pandemic, had to do this alone.

She said: “I was immediately reassured by the team at The Christie. I would have loved my parents to be there to support me, but that just wasn’t possible.

“The nurses and doctors were so caring and reassuring, I immediately felt better and I knew there was a plan to help me.

“2020 has certainly been a strange year for me and my family. Christmas will give me time to reflect, but most of all I’m looking forward to getting my life back on track.”

Leyla has been attending The Christie regularly to receive two types of treatment: chemotherapy and proton beam therapy (PBT). PBT is a specialist form of radiotherapy that is used to target certain cancers more precisely and reduces side-effects. The treatment targets tumours, causing less damage to the healthy tissue.

The Christie is the first NHS centre to provide PBT in the UK.

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