A terminally ill cancer patient whose brain tumour has disappeared claims cannabis oil and diet is behind her improved health.
Mother-of-two Cassandra Jordan was diagnosed with incurable tumours in her brain, lungs and abdomen after originally beating breast cancer.
However, she began chemotherapy in a bid to give her extra time with her loved ones.
At the same time the 39-year-old – mum to Kendall (21) and Jordan (6) – overhauled her diet, drastically cutting back on the amount of sugar she eats, and also started to take cannabis oil.
Last week CT scans revealed the cancer in her brain is gone, while the remaining tumours are shrinking.
Cassandra, from Larne in Co Antrim, said: “My doctor says what has happened is extremely rare. I’m convinced that my diet and the cannabis oil are responsible.
“The chemotherapy that I have had doesn’t target brain tumours so as far as I’m concerned there can’t be any other explanation.
“There are no words; it’s fantastic, it’s amazing, it was so incredible to get my scan results.”
Cassandra, also a grandmother to three-year-old Harlow, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2017.
She started a course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy and also went through a double mastectomy.
“It was a no-brainer, I knew I had to do whatever it took to beat the disease,” she said.
It seemed like the treatment had worked and she began to look forward to getting on with her life.
However, she began to experience pain in her armpit in May last year and went back to the doctor.
Her discomfort was originally put down to her surgery and treatment for the breast cancer, but in September last year medics broke the devastating news that the cancer had returned and had spread throughout her body.
This time the tumours were inoperable and she was left distraught – but determined not to give up without a fight.
After last week’s encouraging development, she remains pragmatic about her prognosis and has vowed to continue to do everything to prolong her life.
She has also called for cannabis oil to be regulated and made more easily accessible so that patients like her can benefit without breaking the law and putting themselves at risk.
“Ultimately, my cancer will kill me, but I want to live for as long as possible,” she said.
“I’m only 39. There are a lot of things left for me to do.
“My daughter is 21, she’s grown up and can look after herself, but my son is just six, he’s still a baby.
“I don’t want my death to affect my son’s life, I want to be around until he finishes school.”
Martin Ledwick, head information nurse at Cancer Research UK (CRUK), said scientists are looking at cannabis and diet as potential treatments for the disease.
“Many researchers are investigating cannabinoids, and CRUK is supporting some of this work,” he said.
“These studies use highly purified chemicals found in the cannabis plant, or lab-made versions of them, and there’s genuine interest in these as potential cancer treatments, but the evidence is not clear-cut.
“And this is very different to street-bought cannabis and hemp oil, for which there is no suggestion of any impact on cancer.
“Similarly, the idea of using diet to help treat cancer is an area of interest for researchers, but there’s no good evidence that changing your diet could help treat the disease.
“It’s important that patients are eating enough to help them through treatment and recovery, and those looking for further advice should speak to their doctor.
“There’s also more information on both these topics on the CRUK website.”
Despite the absence of proper studies, Cassandra remains convinced that using medicinal cannabis and following a strict diet has played a part. She said: “I honestly believe the cannabis oil and diet has helped get rid of my brain cancer and is shrinking the other tumours.
“I would never advocate using just cannabis oil and not following the treatment programme prescribed by the doctors, but patients should be able to access medicinal cannabis in a safe way.”
With the knowledge that her condition is terminal, she is fundraising to help her cover the cost of a treatment outside of Northern Ireland when her health begins to deteriorate.