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Women Disfigured by Chemotherapy Fight Back
Toulouse, France, October 21st 2019. British women left with permanent male pattern baldness from their chemotherapy treatment, Taxotere, are declaring solidarity for their American counterparts by joining them in a Louisiana court room. With the help of a crowdfunding campaign, they aim to fill the public gallery with wigless women.
For more than a decade, breast cancer patients affected by this side-effect have been raising awareness, so that other patients would have the right to give informed consent or request an alternative treatment. They have been ignored but always knew one day their voice would be heard. That day has arrived in the form of six bellwether trials taking place in New Orleans, USA.
The only safe place for victims until now has been a support group called Taxotears, co-founded by Shirley Ledlie twelve years ago. A website soon followed, full of statistics, information and a blog page, Ledlie says, “Our members desperately needed somewhere to go where others would understand and listen to their fears, tears and frustration without judgement”. She continues, “It’s difficult enough for a man to cope with baldness, but for a woman, it’s the most defeminising disfigurement, not to mention a daily reminder of her cancer diagnoses and treatment”. Various studies have shown this side-effect occurs in up to thirty three percent of women prescribed the drug.
The aim of Ledlie’s crowdfunding is to get as many members as possible over to the USA for these trials, to show support for the claimants and to show the world there are thousands of them globally. All funds raised will go towards air fares and basic accommodation. As well as attending court every day, and to make the most of the time there, Ledlie is looking for voluntary work with a local charity or association.
Ledlie co-founded the global support group Taxotears with Pam Kirby from Oklahoma and has taken part in countless newspaper and magazine articles, podcast interviews, books and various blogs. Her memoir “Naked in the Wind: Chemo, Hair Loss and Deceit” describes the devasting impact of permanent hair loss on her life. She has dedicated the last twelve years to raising awareness about this little publicised adverse side-effect.
Breast cancer survivors unite against Big Pharma