My name is James Bertram-Anderson and I’m a 25-year-old cancer patient.
I love gardening, skateboarding, producing music and making skate videos. I live in Brisbane with my parents and sister. Things got a bit more challenging for me when, shortly after completing my last year of senior, I was diagnosed with a very rare liver cancer called Fibrolamellar Hepatocellular Carcinoma. This was 7 years ago in January 2016. I was 17 years of age.
Over the last 7 years, treatment has taken the form of surgical removal of my tumors. I have undergone 5 surgical procedures so far and each time it was a painful and lengthy recovery period before I could continue with working and skateboarding.
Unfortunately, my last surgery in February 2023 was aborted mid-operation due to the proximity of a major artery adjacent to the cancerous lymph node that was going to get removed and the major tissue scarring around the lymph node made it far too risky for my surgeon to proceed without serious risk of loss of life.
Post-op I was told that my cancer is no longer able to be managed via surgery, so since April 2023, I have been undergoing systemic treatment in the form of immunotherapy and a targeted therapy (Nivolumab intravenous infusions and Lenvatinib tablets). Lenvatinib is covered by PBS, however, Nivolumab is not and is extremely expensive. I may need to add a chemotherapy drug to the protocol in the coming months. This drug will also be another costly additional expense for me.
The costs of treatment are well beyond what I can afford however and I have been relying on the generosity of my family so far to access the treatment I am on. They have had to access savings and superannuation to manage payments.
I have decided to post my story here on the Rare Cancers Organisation website in the hope that I may be able to obtain some financial support for my ongoing treatments. I also hope that my story may help raise awareness and further research into treating this rare cancer that mostly affects very young people, as most young people cannot afford cancer treatments approximating 100k per year.
Thank you to whoever is able to donate, it means a lot to me and my family.