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Scots girl fronts cancer charity

A nine-year-old girl who survived cancer is lending her support to others facing a battle with the disease.

BRAVE: Katie Currie survived cancer and is now helping others to beat the disease.
BRAVE: Katie Currie survived cancer and is now helping others to beat the disease.

Katie Currie, from East Kilbride, has been picked to lead Cancer Research UK's new fundraising campaign Stand Up To Cancer.

She battled back after being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia when she was three years old, only for the disease to return two years later. She finally beat the condition after a bone marrow donor was found by a campaign led by Fife-born Hollywood actor Dougray Scott.

Katie was also enrolled on a clinical trial in Glasgow for mitoxantrone – a new chemotherapy drug for recurring leukaemia – which produced startling results. It was so successful the trial was stopped early so all children taking part could be offered the new treatment.

Along with her bone marrow transplant, the drug helped Katie fight off the disease. It is now accepted as the standard treatment for children suffering from cancer across the world.

Siobhan Currie, Katie's mother, said the groundbreaking trial had gone a long way to saving her daughter's life and called on others to support Cancer Research.

She said: "We believed with the clinical trial Katie had the best chance of recovery. Without these trials amazing new treatments may never be found.

"That's why we want everyone in Scotland to Stand Up To Cancer right now. We need to fight back against this disease by raising money so brilliant research can be translated into treatments for patients faster."

The campaign will be featured by Channel 4 next month in a week-long fundraising drive culminating on Friday, October 19. A host of stars from television, music and film are supporting it – including Gwyneth Paltrow Alan Carr, Davina McCall and Dr Christian Jessen, of Embarrassing Bodies.

Hollywod star Paltrow, who lost her father to cancer in 2000, said: "I am all too aware of the impact this disease has on a family. Cancer has taken some of the best among us and it is time for us all to stand up and fight back.

"I am so proud to be standing up to cancer for my dad."

Linda Summerhayes, Cancer Research UK's spokeswoman for Scotland, added: "We are calling on everyone to unite with people across the UK and stand up to this terrible disease.

"One in three people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. Thanks to the incredible progress that's been made in the past 40 years, more people are surviving than ever before.

"But there's still so much more to do. It's not just technology or knowledge that we need to win our fight to beat cancer – it's funding."

The campaign comes as experts predict cancer death rates will fall by almost 17% by 2030 due to better diagnosis and treatment.

Professor Peter Sasieni, an epidemiologst with Cancer Research UK, said ovarian cancer is expected to see the biggest drop at 28%, while breast cancer will fall by 28%, bowel cancer by 23% and prostate cancer by 16%.

However, oral cancer is likely to increase by 22% and liver cancer by 39%.

Professor Sasieni said: "Our latest estimations show that for many cancers, adjusting for age, death rates are set to fall dramatically in the coming decades. And what's really encouraging is that the biggest cancer killers – lung, breast, bowel, and prostate – are part of this falling trend.

"Because old age is the biggest risk factor for cancer and more people are living longer, they have a greater chance of developing and, unfortunately, dying from the disease.

"But, overall, the proportion, or rate, of those who die from cancer is falling."

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