'New hope' for drug trial cancer patient
A man who was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer has been given new hope thanks to a drug being tested on humans for the first time.
Richard Geary, from Donington le Heath, is one of about 50 people in Britain testing the drug, which is so new it only has a number, not a name.
He is hoping the story of his battle against the disease will help raise awareness of the cancer.
The 66-year-old also wants GPs to be more aware of symptoms of the condition so patients can get help quicker.
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Mr Geary said: "I started feeling unwell towards the end of 2009, but it took another year and a change of GP before I was tested for prostate cancer.
"The new GP tested my levels of PSA (a product of the prostate gland) and three days later, between Christmas 2010 and the new year, the doctor called to say it could be cancer and I would need further tests to confirm this."
Tests showed his prostate was not only enlarged but that it was too late to operate and the cancer had spread to Mr Geary's lymph nodes.
He said: "My life expectancy was put at three to five years and I was put on hormone implant treatment.
"But towards the end of the year that was starting to fail and my PSA levels were starting to rise again."
Mr Geary called an old friend, Rob Banner, who he knew when they both studied catering together about 50 years earlier and who was the founder of the Leicestershire charity, Prostaid.
Mr Greary said: "Rob told me to get referred to the oncologist Professor Nick James at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Birmingham.
"I did and got on to a clinical trial, Arades, which began in October 2011.
"I was happy to be a human guinea pig. I didn't have anything to lose.
"I looked and felt ill while I was being treated in Leicester, but within a few months on the trial the drug had stabilised the cancer and I felt well again.
"I have been told I can stay on the drug as long as it suits me.
"It does seem to have stopped the cancer in its tracks, reduced the damage in my lymph nodes and stopped it spreading to my bones, which it might have done if I had not been on the trial."
Professor James, professor of clinical oncology at the University of Birmingham, is leading the British trial, which is also being conducted in France and Finland. Prof James, who is also a consultant in clinical oncology at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, said: "Our trial began about 18 months ago and as soon as we started giving the drug to patients we saw responses and began giving it to more people.
"It is exciting in that it clearly works and seems to be very low in side effects and it appears to be effective."