Northern Ireland news

West Belfast mother 'hopeful for future' after alternative cancer treatment in Mexico

West Belfast mother Sharon Rooney (38), pictured in Mexico, after finishing alternative treatment at the Hope4Cancer Centre in Cancun
Marie Louise McConville

The family of a west Belfast mother who was given just two years to live after she was diagnosed with cancer have told of how alternative treatment she underwent in Mexico has left her "hopeful for the future".

After spending three weeks at the Hope4Cancer Centre in Cancun, Sharon Rooney (38) has been told she does not currently need chemotherapy.

In January 2020, the mother-of-two was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer and given a "poor prognosis".

The former barmaid, who lives in the Falls Road area with her two children, Grace (14) and Cadain (3), underwent several rounds of chemotherapy and later made the decision to have a double mastectomy.

At the end of the summer in 2020, she was given the all clear.

However, following a routine scan last December, Sharon was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer after doctors found that the breast cancer cells from the first primary cancer had spread through the lymphatic or blood system to her liver and stomach and later, her spine.

She was told she had between just six months and two years to live and chemotherapy would be offered as a means of prolonging her life.

However, Sharon found a medical centre in Mexico which offers a holistic cancer treatment programme.

In April, her family set up a GoFundMe page in a bid to raise the £50,000 needed for the treatment and travel.

After the target was reached, Sharon and her sister Lisa made the journey to Mexico.

Her treatment began on August 21 and finished on September 10.

Last month, Sharon, who now follows a vegan-based diet, underwent an MRI scan at Belfast City Hospital.

Speaking to the Irish News, Sharon's sister, Lisa Rooney said the family have been left "delighted" with the results.

"She had had an area in her stomach which was cancer, but that is gone," she said.

"There were two areas in her liver, which were cancerous and now, they can only see one area and it is so small they are putting it down to scarring.

"The two areas in her spine, they have reduced massively and they are so small, they can't measure them".

On seeing the results, Lisa said the doctors told Sharon she "doesn't need any chemotherapy" at the minute and instead, she will be re-assessed in February.

She said Sharon and the family have been left "really delighted", adding that it was only made possible by the funds raised with the help of the local community and businesses.

"She is really, really grateful," she said.

"She is so hopeful for the future and just getting that news is amazing.

"She looks amazing and feels like her normal self again".

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