Munster head coach Anthony Foley backs campaign
A CANCER patient has said taking part in a clinical trial at University Hospital Limerick was “a last option for me but one which has allowed me to see my children grow up when there was a time I was being told that would never happen”.
Marie was speaking to highlight International Clinical Trials Day on Friday, May 20th and to encourage patients to sign up for suitable trials. Members of the public are invited to UHL this Friday to find out more about cancer trials from staff attached to the Clinical Trials Unit, Cancer Services, at UHL. They will be running an information stand from 11am to 1pm in the main hospital concourse as part of a national campaign co-ordinated by ICORG, which co-ordinates most cancer trials in Ireland.
UHL is one of 18 hospital-based cancer trials centres in Ireland and is the only one in the MidWest region.
Supporting the campaign is Munster head coach Anthony Foley, who is a member of the board at the Mid-Western Cancer Foundation.
“I am delighted to support International Clinical Trials Day,” said the former Irish international.
“It is heartening to see that patients and staff at the cancer centre in UHL are taking part in the fight against cancer in this region and around the world. It is part of an international effort to understand and treat cancer, to increase survival rates and quality of life. All cancer drugs start out as experimental and the benefits of clinical trials are obvious in exposing patients to drugs that are otherwise unavailable,” he added.
Marie, a mother-of-two, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2010.
“At the beginning I went on a hard course of chemotherapy after which I was given the all-clear. Three months after that I started to feel pain again and I was told the cancer had returned.”
Her consultant initially suggested a trial being run in a Dublin hospital, which Marie was on for a year-and-a-half.
“When that stopped working for me, we had to look for other options and eventually one became available in Limerick. I didn’t even consider the implications. At that stage it was ‘this or nothing’. It was the last try for me,” said Marie.
“I’ve been on it for 14 months now and I feel it is going very well. It is lung cancer and I never thought of it as a cure but what is has done is it has allowed me to live longer and to have a better quality of life. Back in 2010, I was told I could have as little as six months to live and no longer than two years. My kids were in fifth class and third class when I got diagnosed. But today, I was at work and I have been able to enjoy seeing my kids growing up. They are 17 and 14 now.”
More broadly, Marie said that patients taking part in trials was a crucial in helping scientists and clinicians research and better understand cancer – to help prevent it, to help detect it and to develop treatments.
Maureen O'Grady, Clinical Nurse Manager, Clinical Trials Unit, Cancer Services, UHL commented: “New and more effective approaches cannot be developed without cancer trials.”
“All cancer treatments used today were once tested through a cancer trial. Cancer trials allow access to new drugs and treatments and help us increase our knowledge on the best way to deliver these treatments. By taking part in a cancer trial patients help to test new ways to detect and treat cancer,” she added.
And Dr Linda Coate, Consultant Medical Oncologist and Director of the Clinical Trials Unit, Cancer Services, added, “Currently in Cancer Services, UHL, we have 290 patients under our care participating in 35 trials. We act as an Irish referral site for a number of exciting therapeutic trials”.
International Clinical Trials Day celebrates the pioneering work of all who are involved in clinical trials around the world.
The date itself has historical significance. It was on 20th May 1747 that James Lind started what many consider the first clinical trial. That trial conducted among sailors found that citrus fruits cured scurvy.
For inquiries on Cancer Clinical Trials, please contact the Clinical Trials Unit, Cancer Services, at UHL on 061 585824 or 061 482893
Picture Caption: Maureen O’Grady, Clinical Nurse Manager, Clinical Trials Unit, Cancer Services; Dr Linda Coate, Consultant Medical Oncologist and Director and Chief Investigator, Clinical Trials Unit, Cancer Services, Munster Head Coach Anthony Foley and Breda Fallon, Assistant Director of Nursing, Cancer Services Credit: Brian Arthur
Last updated on: 20 / 05 / 2016