A British mom of three diagnosed with aggressive cancer will likely lose her vision in one eye and her upper teeth to radiation therapy, a treatment she chose to undergo to spend more time with her children, she said.
Kerry Borlase, 37, was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck months after suffering from a stuffy nose that no nasal spray or antibiotic treatment could alleviate. The blockage, which she first noticed in January, made it difficult for her to breathe, she told SWNS, a British news agency.
“I'd sit up in the morning and pure gunk would just pour out of my nose. I've gone through so much toilet roll it's unbelievable,” Borlase told the outlet. "I couldn't breathe properly and it was causing me to have panic attacks, but I was ringing the doctors crying and they just weren't listening to me.”
"My nose was leaking so much it was making me not want to leave the house, it was embarrassing, and it was just ruining my quality of life but nobody would help me."
Months later, in August, the 37-year-old saw a specialist who conducted an MRI and a biopsy — results of which would devastate Borlase. The mom was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, a type of cancer that accounts for the majority — 90 percent — of all head and neck cancers, per Penn Medicine.
“Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck occurs in the outermost surface of the skin or certain tissues within the head and neck region including the throat, mouth, sinuses and nose,” it states.
In Borlase’s case, a large, malignant tumor was found behind her nose and right eye.
"The doctor took me into a side room and by the time he told me I had cancer, I was completely hysterical and had lost all capacity,” she recalled.
Shortly after, Borlase underwent surgery to remove the tumor. Though the surgery was a success, she was recommended to undergo six weeks of radiation therapy to prevent the cancer from returning. However, undergoing such treatment will likely cost the mom her sight in her right eye and her upper row of teeth, she said.
"It was up to me if I wanted to have radiotherapy as it would mean losing all my upper teeth and probably the sight in my right eye,” she told SWNS. "Hearing it would reduce the chance of the cancer coming back [from 50 percent to] 20 percent made the decision for me.”
“I'd rather have half my teeth removed and go blind than leave my children behind to bury me,” added Borlase, referring to her three children: Nathan, 20, Lauren, 15, and Dylan, 14.
“The radiotherapy will destroy my upper gums as it has to be localized to where the cancer had been, so I'm having all of my upper teeth removed,” she said. "As the cancer had spread up to behind my right eye, it felt like I'd been kicked in the eye following the surgery and now I might lose the sight in that eye due to the radiotherapy.”
"I'm choosing to have the radiotherapy so I can have more time with my family,” she continued. “They're my world and I'd rather go blind than leave my kids without a mum."