Taking part in a cancer clinical trial at University Hospital Limerick was a last option fora Clare woman but one which had allowed her to see her children grow up.
This was outlined by Marie to highlight International Clinical Trials Day on Friday 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 Mid-West region.
Supporting the campaign is Munster head coach Anthony Foley, who is a member of the board at the Mid-Western Cancer Foundation.
“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.”