Mayor and Mayoress of Mablethorpe and Sutton speak out over their double cancer battle

The Mayor and Mayoress of Mablethorpe, Sutton on Sea and Trusthorpe, Councillors Steve and Pauline Palmer.
The Mayor and Mayoress of Mablethorpe, Sutton on Sea and Trusthorpe, Councillors Steve and Pauline Palmer.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Mablethorpe, Sutton on Sea and Trusthorpe have spoken out after both were left fighting their own cancer battles at the same time.

Councillor Pauline Palmer (61) revealed that, following tests, she was diagnosed with breast cancer in June this year.

However, she is determined to fight the disease after seeing her husband and fellow Coun, Stephen Palmer (63) battle cancer himself for the last 20 years.

The Mayor, who lives in Sutton on Sea with his wife, told the Leader: “Over the last 20 years I’ve had five tumours removed in four operations at three different hospitals.

“It’s been a hard journey, but I’ve always been honest and open about my cancer. We will never let it get us down.”

Coun Palmer explained that his cancer battle began in 1998.

He said doctors initially thought he had appendicitis - but discovered a tumour, part of which was sent away to America for analysis.

Following the tests on the tumour, Coun Palmer revealed he was diagnosed with GIST cancer, tumours which are commonly found in the stomach or small intestine.

But for Coun Palmer, all was not as it seemed. With doctors unable to pin point the main cause of the cancer, no form of drug could cure him.

He revealed he had no option left but to have major life-threatening surgery after it spread to his liver in 2009.

Further operations were performed in 2014 and 2015 - but the tumours continued to spread, and by 2017 three more tumour appeared in the bowel area.

He added: “The surgeons told me they wouldn’t operate on me anymore, and I moved straight onto experimental radiotherapy, which also failed.”

For Coun Palmer, 2018 seemed to be the worst year yet - after his oncologist explained to him there was nothing more they could do for him.

He then received further bad news that day, when his wife Pauline received confirmation she had got cancer as well.

Coun Mrs Palmer said: “It has been hard, but it has brought us even closer as a couple.

“Now in a way, we both understand what each other has been going through - and I thought that if Steve could battle his cancer for all this time, then I could do this as well.”

However after a double bout of bad news for the couple, things have now taken a surprising turn for the better for the pair.

Just two months down the line up to this month, the Palmers are beginning to receive promising results with both of their respective cancers.

For Coun Mrs Palmer, after two operations at Boston Pilgrim Hospital, her tumour has been successfully removed.

And for the Mayor, he admits he has always wanted to help and agreed to have his tumours donated for medical research - which as a result has had its own positive turning point.

He said: “Thanks to recent medical research, I have now been given a new cancer diagnosis.

“I have discovered I have a very rare form of GIST, called C-Kit Exon 8 Deletion in Codon 149.

“Only five or six people in the country have this form of cancer - but the good news is, it’s now opened a wave of treatment opportunities for me.

“For my diagnosis, which was not looking good a couple of months back, I now have new hope for treatment going forward.”

The Mayor added: “Every day I wake up it’s a bonus. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to see both of my children get married, and spend time with my four grandchildren.”

The couple also both said how grateful they are to the NHS for all of their work and support. Despite the testing times for the National Health Service, they both admit they wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them.