Toni Crews: Channel 4 My Dead Body documentary release date, what is adenocarcinoma, rare cancer explained

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Toni Crews became the first public cadaver in UK since records began

Channel 4 is set to release a pioneering new documentary titled My Dead Body. The groundbreaking documentary will take an in depth look at the life of Toni Crews and her battle with a rare form of eye cancer.

Crews famously gifted her body to science after her death to help fight the war on the disease and - for the first time in British TV history - Channel 4 will show the dissection. Scientists hope to learn more about cancer and the way it makes it through the human body.

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The moving documentary will be told from the perspective of Crews - who was the mother of two young children. It will show home video footage of her family life and it will give the viewer a glimpse into Crews’ personality and her resilient character.

But who was Toni Crews and what can we expect from the new Channel 4 documentary My Dead Body?

Who was Toni Crews?

Toni Crews was a mother of two from Kent who died from a rare form of cancer at the age of 30. Crews was diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer called adenocarcinoma in 2016 and had to have her right eye removed as result of the condition.

The disease returned in 2018 and during the later years of her life Crews decided it was important to continue to raise awareness about her condition. The young mother discovered her illness was terminal in 2020 and she passed away in August 2020 at the age of 30.

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Following her death, Crews not only agreed to donate her body to medical science but also chose to give consent for it to be used on public display. Crews became the first public display cadaver in the UK since records began 180 years ago, she also became the first British cadaver to be seen being dissected in such a way, for almost 200 years.

What is adenocarcinoma?

Adenocarcinoma is a type of cancer that develops in the glands that line the organs. Common forms of adenocarcinoma include breast, stomach, prostate, lung, pancreatic and colorectal cancers.

Adenocarcinoma develops in cells called glandular epithelial cells. These cells secrete mucous, digestive juices or other liquids. If these cells begin to change or grow out of control then it can lead to cancerous tumours forming, these are known as adenocarcinomas.

Even though adenocarcinomas begin developing in the glands of your body, they are capable of spreading to other areas including the brain, liver, lungs and bone.

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What to expect from My Dead Body

My Dead Body is a documentary that will reflect on the story of Toni Crews and the way that the diagnosis changed her life during her four year battle with cancer. The story will take place both before and after her death and many aspects of the documentary will be narrated in her own words.

The documentary will show the dissection of Toni’s body during a series of educational workshops - the first time a dissection has been captured on TV. The groundbreaking research is aiming to educate viewers on the science of cancer and the way that it makes its way through the human body.

The film will also follow professor Claire Smith, Head of Anatomy at Brighton and Sussex Medical School. She has hailed Crews’ bravery and believes that her donation will be used to educate medical students for years to come.

Smith said: “We have been so privileged to explore the journey of cancer through the incredible donation made by Toni. As part of this documentary, we are able to invite more than 1,000 students, including nurses, paramedics and neuroscientists, who wouldn’t normally get to learn about this one in a million cancer.”

When will Channel 4 air My Dead Body?

My Dead Body is expected to air later this year on Channel 4. An official date for the programme is yet to be announced.

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