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Teenage Oncology Patients Support

Student Bryony Carr is looking forward to repeating a trip she has made on a regular basis since she became a teenager. She is going to Atlantic College in South Wales for a week of activity and adventure.

"That first holiday was one of the best weeks of my life," she says. This summer she will renew contacts with "lots of friends", try out some new activities and generally take time out from a busy schedule.

The busy routine Bryony is keen to escape from involves neither work nor study, it is her treatment schedule. She is recovering from a brain tumour.

"I was diagnosed in 1996 after being in pain for about six months. There was surgery and radiotherapy and I seemed to be in te clear. But last year one of my regular scans showed that the cancer seemed to have returned. I had a bone marrow transplant last July and six months of chemotherapy."

Early on in the programme Bryony's medical social worker referred her to TOPS, the charity that supports teenagers with cancer, and since then Bryony has been a TOPS regular. The key factor is the opportunity to meet people who share the same experience.

"Having cancer is a major part of my life," she says "And it makes a big difference to be able to talk about it freely. A lot of people just freak out as soon as they hear the word."

TOPS operates in the South-west only at present. Tel: 0117 311 2624.

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