Date of release: 20 May 2020
So what is it like to be a part of a clinical trial? We’ve been chatting to some of our own patients to help us understand what’s involved! First up today is Andrew Finch, from Willenhall.
Despite being fit and well for most of his life, the father of two was faced with a shock cancer diagnoses in 2012; forcing him to retire from his job as an audio visual technician.
The 50-year-old explained: “I was always an active person - I enjoyed running, climbing, swimming etc. - but one day I started to feel really unwell. It felt like a heavy cold that I couldn’t shift.
“It was gradually getting worse and I eventually developed abscesses in my throat (known as quinsy) and was struggling to breath.”
And just four days after his visit to the Ear, Nose & Throat specialist at New Cross Hospital, Andrew was told the devastating news that he was living with multiple myeloma - a type of bone marrow cancer.
After receiving urgent treatment, which included replacing the plasma in his blood which had become thick and clotted, Andrew was offered a new course of medication aimed at treating the the cancer in the long-term.
“I was offered the chance to take part in a clinical trial; testing out a new form of drug. I had no hesitations because really, in that situation, you’ll try anything if you think it may help you to feel better.
“I’ve always tried to be positive and so it made sense to give it a go, especially if it worked and that would mean a possible benefit for others who are facing the same diagnosis.”
Andrew has taken part in three trials under the guidance of RWT research professionals and admits that, for him, some drugs have worked better than others.
“We all react differently to medication and other patients were responding well to drugs that weren’t working for me. Trial number three has been the best in terms of how well I’ve felt - this was taking medication via an intravenous drip as opposed to an injection.”
He also explained how the trials include regular check-ups at the hospital with research staff and other health professionals - meaning you have regular communication from the Trust on how you’re doing medically, while also being able to share your thoughts and feelings with the team.
“My energy levels were up and I felt good in myself, but unfortunately my body seemed to stop reacting so well just before Christmas 2019 and the fatigue has returned.”
But even with the change, Andrew remains positive about the future and hopes to be able to take part in another trial in the near future.
“Trials are essential for medicine to move forward, irrespective on their success - without them we won’t be able to progress with treatments.
“I’m happy to be able to play a part in that research and remain positive on finding something that works for me.”
Thank you Andrew for sharing your experience!