Pat Jones and her family are tireless campaigners for the Mouth Cancer Foundation. Pat admits that before her daughter, Clare Jones, fell victim to tongue cancer at the age of just 23 years old
in April 2007, she knew little about the disease. Now Pat is on a mission to raise as much awareness about this lesser known cancer as she can. She says “25% of mouth cancer cases are not associated with any known risk factor, hence the need for vigilance. If you notice a lump in your mouth that wasn’t there before or a mouth ulcer which lasts for more than 3 weeks, you should see a dentist or doctor immediately.”
Clare was a student at Loughborough University when she was first diagnosed in February 2003. Five months later she became a member of the Mouth Cancer Foundation’s Forum after an operation to remove the right side of her tongue, reconstruction with a flap from her right forearm and a neck dissection. Clare joined the Mouth Cancer Foundation initially to find out how others coped. In Clare’s words “I would like to discuss my feelings with people who have experienced the same operation as myself”.
In June 2005 Clare graduated from Loughborough with a first in Information Management and Business Studies and got a job at the Swansea NHS Trust.
Within 12 months Clare had secondary bone cancer and bravely went through the treatments offered. It was a difficult time for her and she was very, very scared. Sheworried about the effects of chemo and fertility but finished her chemotherapy and was looking forward to a better 2007.
Unfortunately, the MRI scans showed no change in the size of her cancer, which eventually spread to her brain and Clare passed away peacefully with her family by her side.
Clare and her family have always been valued members of the Mouth Cancer Foundation and are happy for her story to be heard to educate and inform others about mouth cancer.
The charity is indebted to the fundraising and awareness campaigning that Pat does in memory of Clare. Clare would be hugely proud of her family.
Watch the ‘Bite Back at Cancer’ tutorial on how to check for mouth cancer here
Visit the Mouth Cancer Foundation website here