Research programme buys doctors crucial time by spotting returning tumours before symptoms appear
Seven years ago, Kelly Harrop was working at a stables while also running regularly in half marathons and 10k races. Then she began to suffer digestive problems. Scans eventually revealed marks on her lungs. The subsequent diagnosis was direct. “I had lung cancer. It was a shock. I was fit, healthy and had never smoked,” she told the Observer.
Kelly had surgery to remove the tumour, followed by chemotherapy. But doctors knew there was a risk of the tumour reappearing, so they enrolled her in a new research programme, TRACERx. Funded by Cancer Research UK, the £14m project was set up 10 years ago to investigate how lung tumours arise and evolve. A total of 850 patients with early-stage lung cancer were studied and followed from diagnosis to treatment.