Patient Stories

Janet West’s story – broadcaster says “my stubborn determination got me through”

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Janet West_lowres

My stubborn determination got me through

Janet West has had a varied career including being a former commercial airline pilot before turning her hand to broadcasting.

Says Janet, “I have worked all over the world and enjoyed a fantastic career in broadcasting. My most recent role was a TV presenter for a US broadcaster hosting chat shows in Las Vegas and Amsterdam discussing technology and the environmental impact of broadcasting.  I have been fit and active my whole life and everyday enjoy going to the gym as well as hiking and skiing.  In February 2019 I was diagnosed with tongue cancer and was operated on at The Churchill Hospital in Oxford on my birthday, the 1st May 2019.  The tumour was removed successfully with no sign of having spread to my lymph glands. I even surprised the surgeons by talking almost straight after the surgery.  I have worked hard to get back to full fitness and enjoy keeping fit, surrounding myself with good friends – my stubborn determination has got me through my cancer journey and am delighted that I am now cancer-free.

“BBC South Today documented my cancer journey from diagnosis, the surgery itself and my life afterwards.  Please do take a moment to watch my story which I hope will raise awareness about the growing prevalence of tongue cancer in both men and women.”

Supporter Janet West has always attributed her recovery from tongue cancer to her love of fitness. During lockdown Janet retreated to her home in France where she had the time to produce a number of films to help other head and neck cancer patients with gentle exercises to help with
mobility in the head and tongue.

Former TV presenter and journalist Janet was overwhelmed with the response from other head and neck cancer patients, receiving messages of gratitude and support from as far away as the Caribbean.

Says Janet, “I’m thrilled that my exercise routines have helped others, particularly during the pandemic when services were so several impacted. These gentle exercises really help with neck and tongue mobility which is so vital following surgery. With the support of physiotherapists I put together these short films – kindly edited by Pete Brady from head and neck cancer support group Heads2gether.

You can find Janet’s YouTube channel here

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