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“I wouldn’t be here without the incredible scientists who are striving to unlock more of cancer’s secrets"

“I wouldn’t be here without the incredible scientists who are striving to unlock more of cancer’s secrets

Saturday 09 March 2024

“I wouldn’t be here without the incredible scientists who are striving to unlock more of cancer’s secrets"

Saturday 09 March 2024


A Guernsey breast cancer survivor is appealing to philanthropists across the Channel Islands to help save the lives of more people like her.

Diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in 2021, Vikki Hammond is now clear of the disease and is hoping to help others who like her will benefit from scientific breakthroughs funded by charity donations

The mum-of-two knew she could develop the disease because it is prevalent in her family.

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Pictured: Vikki Hammond asked to be tested for the BRCA gene soon after the birth of her daughter, and was diagnosed with breast cancer less than two years later. (Sarah Froome Photography)

Several family members carry the faulty BRCA gene which means they are at increased risk of developing breast, ovarian, pancreatic and prostate cancer.

Mrs Hammond was waiting to be tested to see if she carried the gene when she was actually diagnosed.

"I want to do everything I can to turn the tide on the disease" 

Mrs Hammond's family were one of the first to be tested for the BRCA gene in Guernsey.

A little over 30 years ago, her aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer at 27. She was one of the youngest people on the island to be diagnosed at the time.

Mrs Hammond's mum then found out she was a carrier – although she has never had the disease – along with several other relatives.

“I simply wouldn’t be here without the incredible scientists who are striving to unlock more of cancer’s secrets," said Mrs Hammond.

The breast cancer survivor is backing Cancer Research's More Research, Less Cancer campaign which is aiming to raise £400 million for Cancer Research UK to help accelerate progress in the fight against the disease.

"I want to do everything I can to turn the tide on the disease by helping to raise vital awareness and funds," she added.

The largest-ever philanthropic fundraising drive by a UK charity comes as world-renowned scientists have penned an open ‘letter to the world’ warning that while we’re at a “tipping point” that could transform how we understand and treat cancer.

"I had prepared to hear the word cancer" 

Most cancer patients from the Channel Islands go to Southampton for their treatment.

Mrs Hammond was due to do that, but her test was postponed due to the arrival of covid.

Instead, she was screened in Guernsey which in turn led to her cancer diagnosis the following year. 

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Pictured: Vikki Hammond was declared cancer free the day after her 34th birthday and since then she has had a double mastectomy to ensure her cancer can't return.

“It was a bit of a shock to say the least," she said. "Although I had prepared to hear the word cancer and I just said ‘I thought so’. I just knew. I didn’t even cry.”

Mrs Hammond endured six rounds of chemotherapy, including the drug, carboplatin, which Cancer Research UK helped develop.

She was declared cancer free the day after her 34th birthday and since then she has had a double mastectomy to ensure her cancer can't return.

"The fact that I’m still here is 100% down to the progress that has been made in research and treatment"

Mrs Hammond credits the research of Cancer Research and others for her survival and positive future.

“The fact that I’m still here is 100% down to the progress that has been made in research and treatment," she explained.

"Without research, we would never have known about the BRCA gene in my family. And, not only have I benefited from Olaparib, but the MRI testing allowed me to be diagnosed earlier. Without these advancements, who knows what would have happened?

“I feel very lucky and very grateful. I have never been fitter or healthier in my life. I’m in a really good place. I could never be sad or angry I got cancer because my diagnosis was a twist of fate."

She added: “So many people’s lives are touched by this disease and the numbers are only growing. Every day, it takes an army of generous volunteers and supporters to power Cancer Research UK’s life-saving work.

"So, I hope that sharing my story will inspire the philanthropic community to join their ranks and give what they can. Because when investment in research is made on a large scale, the benefit could be felt by millions.” 

“Ideas that were once science fiction, are becoming science fact"

The More Research, Less Cancer campaign hopes to:

  • support innovation that translates discoveries in the lab into revolutionary new tests and treatments
  • find and fund future leaders in cancer research
  • help support the work of the Francis Crick Institute
  • unite global researchers to answer cancer’s toughest questions through the Cancer Grand Challenges initiative

Southampton’s Professor Gareth Griffiths (pictured top), Director of the Cancer Research UK funded Southampton Clinical Trials Unit, has joined the call for urgent investment. 

He and his fellow eminent scientists want to recruit those with “the means and vision to bring about a better world” to help tackle the disease. 

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Pictured: Professor Gareth Griffiths is Director of the Cancer Research UK funded Southampton Clinical Trials Unit.

Prof Griffiths said: “Ideas that were once science fiction, are becoming science fact.

"Now, we’re standing on the brink of discoveries like new blood tests that could detect cancer at an earlier stage, and algorithms that could predict someone’s cancer risk and stop it from developing in the first place.

"Discoveries ultimately have the power to give millions in the South – and across the world – more time with their loved ones.

"That’s why I’m calling for more support and urging philanthropists to join the army of fundraisers and donors that power the charity’s life-saving research every day.

“Beating cancer will take scientists, researchers, clinicians and entrepreneurs joining forces across disciplines and continents. Together, we can go further and faster in the fight against the disease.”  

"Beating cancer requires a collective effort"

Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the Channel Islands, Lynn Daly, said: “The more we understand about cancer, the more we understand the scale of the challenge. So, we’re grateful to Vikki and Professor Griffiths for lending their voices to this ambitious campaign that could have far-reaching effects for patients.   

“Nearly one-in-two of us will be diagnosed with cancer in our lifetime so, now more than ever, we need the support of every person and every pound. As the scientific community has underlined, beating cancer requires a collective effort.

"We’re grateful to all our supporters, fundraisers and donors for their generosity and the vital part they play in helping us to ensure more people can live longer, better lives, free from the fear of cancer.” 

Pictured top: Guernsey breast cancer survivor, Vikki Hammond is issuing a rallying cry for philanthropists to back Cancer Research UK’s 'More Research, Less Cancer' campaign to help speed up progress in the fight against the disease. Find out more HERE.  

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