A Chippenham mother of three has launched an appeal to fund treatment for immunotherapy to treat her cancer.

Nikki Nicholls, 42, was diagnosed with breast cancer in the summer of 2017 after discovering a lump.

She said: “I first noticed an achy armpit but didn’t think much of it. After a few weeks of it being achy, I decided to check my breasts ‘just in case’ and found what I thought was a teeny tiny lump.”

After two visits to her doctor she was referred to the RUH for a scan thinking everything would be fine.

“It soon became very clear that things weren’t good when the nurses said they had seen something ‘suspicious’ on the ultrasound and talked about taking biopsies,” she said, “I was then taken into a room and told that, they would wait for the biopsy results to confirm it, but they were almost certain I had breast cancer.”

Nikki was diagnosed with the most aggressive form of Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) with the condition having already spread to her lymph nodes.

“I needed chemotherapy first followed by surgery and then radiotherapy,” she said,

“I had six rounds of chemo called FEC-T which I found really tough, I lost all my hair and suffered with fatigue and nausea. On the second half of the treatment I ended up in hospital after each of the three rounds as it affected me so badly.”

Back home for Christmas in 2017, there was only a brief respite before Nikki had a lumpectomy and her axillary lymph nodes removed by surgery in January. Throughout the spring she had a punishing round of daily radiotherapy before completing the treatment. More surgery followed with the removal of her ovaries to prevent further cancers appearing after genetic testing revealed she had gene mutations which indicated the chance of more cancers.

She even planned to have a double mastectomy to reduce the chances of a return of the breast cancer when in the run up to Christmas last year she developed a deafness in her right ear along with paralysis on the right side of her face.

Bell’s palsy was diagnosed but this was not the problem as it turned out. Instead as her condition deteriorated over Christmas it turned out the original cancer had invaded her auditory and facial nerve along with her kidney.

“The prognosis is not good,” she said, “Immunotherapy looks like it is the current best option but is only available as trials at the moment and I am not currently eligible for a trial until the cancer in my brain lining (around my auditory and facial nerves) is stable.”

“If I am lucky enough to respond well to the current treatment and/or raise enough to receive immunotherapy, my only hopes and dreams are that I get to spend more time with my family.

“They are my entire life and I can’t bear the thought of leaving them any time soon.”

Nikki’s funding page is: https://www.gofundme.com/help-me-get-cancer-treatment-not-available-on-nhs?pc=ot_co_dashboard_a&rcid=1999ccc92418418fa3141c98a9d32085