There are lots of treatments for advanced cancer and I wanted to know which treatment was best. But no one can tell you how you’ll respond to a treatment – it’s so individual.
I desperately tried to find men with the same cancer and treatment and see how they responded and what side effects they had. I soon learnt that no two men are the same. Some respond well to one treatment and badly to something else.
I responded really well to steroid treatment for around 18 months. During the treatment, I played rugby and football, and even ran a marathon for Prostate Cancer UK.
Clinical trials can seem daunting as no one wants to be an experiment and you don’t want to go on a trial out of desperation. But if you can find a treatment that’s suited to your cancer, it can be really positive. I’ve been on two trials – for Radium 223 and the STAMPEDE trial.
I learnt that a lot of the research is about what order you have treatments in, or whether you have two treatments at the same time or separately. It’s a lot to get your head around, but finding out how clinical trials work makes it a lot less confusing.
Finding out how clinical trials work makes it a lot less confusing.
The STAMPEDE trial looked at whether other treatments should be used with hormone therapy when men are first diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. It found that using chemotherapy with hormone therapy can prolong a man’s life. I wasn’t given chemotherapy, so I didn’t get that benefit. But it still felt good to be part of something that would improve treatment for other men in the future.
When I was on the trials, I felt really looked after – I got a lot of monitoring and was in regular contact with the doctors and nurses. I found it very reassuring.
I’m on ad hoc treatments now. My oncologist sees me regularly and we decide what I need. I sometimes have a blood or platelet transfusion to keep me going.