A NORTH-East woman who has endured courses of gruelling chemotherapy since an ovarian cancer diagnosis in 2011 will become the first person in the UK to benefit from a cancer-managing drug.

The NHS patient from County Durham was devastated to learn that precautionary surgery to remove what was thought to be a benign cyst turned out to be cancer that had started in her left ovary or fallopian tube.

Aged just 41, the woman under a full hysterectomy but believed that her cancer had been cured.

The patient, who does not want to be named, said: “I was shocked, but we just got on with our lives.

“We didn’t really talk about it that much. Initially they were sure they had got rid of it all, but just needed to check.”

Subsequent appointments revealed further chemotherapy and surgeries were required to remove traces of cancer discovered on her liver and kidney as recently as this year.

However, following her treatment at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, consultant medical oncologist Dr Talal Mansy secured the Niraparib drug for his patient.

His application for the drug through a special Early Access Programme means the 46-year-old woman will be the first UK patient to use Niraparib outside clinical trials.

The drug has been shown to help patients dealing with “flare ups” in recurrent ovarian cancer who are responding to platinum-based chemotherapy.

The 46-year-old added: “When you are poorly like this and you have been battling cancer for five years, all you want is to be back to normal.

“It’s such a big relief to know that [Niraparib] available and I can keep things at bay for longer with this drug.

“Both me and my husband are over the moon and can’t thank Dr Mansy enough.”

Dr Mansy said: “Niraparib is still awaiting a European licence for this form of maintenance treatment though it got a licence in the USA in March 2017.

“I have been extremely fortunate to be able to access it early, before European approval and certainly before it has been evaluated by NICE for use within the NHS.

“It is extremely exciting for James Cook to be able to offer our patients the newest treatments to help them obtain the best possible outcome for their cancer.”