Being diagnosed with prostate cancer was the worst thing that ever happened to Russ Fisher (pictured right with Sam Corcoran, Research Nurse). However, taking part in research gave him a new sense of optimism and a chance to give something back to other people with cancer.
It was like light at the end of a very dark tunnel for Russ, who two years ago was given the option to be a part of a clinical research study for patients with prostate cancer. Russ, 65 from Bramhall, Stockport, saw it as his chance to give something positive back to other cancer patients.
Russ was diagnosed with a severe form of the cancer which had unfortunately spread beyond his prostate making it impossible to treat with surgery or radiology. After hearing this devastating news, he was advised by his doctors at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport that he could be part of a clinical trial exploring the effects of a new drug for patients with prostate cancer.
Most men who have prostate cancer that has spread outside the prostate gland are given hormone therapy. This is often effective for a short time at stopping the tumour growing. However in most cases, over time the tumour will start to grow again. The trial Russ took part in looked at preventing re-growth.
Russ described the whole experience of being a part of this trial as very encouraging. He said: “Getting diagnosed with cancer is the worst thing that has ever happened to me; I was devastated, shocked and really scared. But being a part of this trial has made me feel really optimistic. It means I am able to use my condition and be a part of something positive for others in the future who might suffer in the same way.”
He added: “At first I did feel a bit apprehensive about the whole thing. It was a lot of information to take in at once. But then I thought about it for a while, spoke to my wife and realised I was being selfish, I decided that I did want to take part and contribute to something which may potentially benefit people like me in the future.”
Being a part of the research study means that Russ is required to see his doctor every month for a bone infusion and a blood test. If he had not been a part of the study, he would have only been required to see his doctor once every six months.
Russ said: “The experience has been great. I get to talk about my condition with some of the top urologists and put my mind at ease with any pains or symptoms I am feeling. Being a cancer patient is tough, I am terminal and every little pain I experience worries me. But because I see my doctors regularly I can talk about my condition and they can offer an explanation as to why I would feel certain pain. Being a part of the research trial has meant that I’ve been able to interact with other patients, share my experiences and talk more openly about it. Overall it has helped me feel more positive. Before the trial it was all doom and gloom, I was very worried about my future but now I feel a lot more optimistic, like I am taking a step forward and helping to make a change.”
Sarah Connolly, Oncology Research Sister at Stepping Hill Hospital, said: “Russ has been part of the trial for nearly two years now and throughout this time he has been attending hospital on a monthly basis for treatment and regular reviews by the research nurses at Stockport. He has found this additional support extremely valuable, making participation in the trial worthwhile for him in terms of both receiving additional treatment, which may or may not be of benefit to him, but also in the increased contact and support he has received during his visits."
Russ added: “I would definitely encourage other patients in my situation to get involved with clinical research if they are given the opportunity to. It is perfectly safe, there are loads of people you can talk to about it and you never know just how many people could benefit from it.”