Grandfather who beat cancer urges public to join health research
Grandfather who beat cancer with experimental therapy has urged the public to get involved in research studies.
Stephen Cossins, 71, from Amersham in Buckinghamshire, has been diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a rare type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.
When the cancer started spreading through his body, he took part in a clinical trial of drugs that block the growth of the cancer.
Instead of standard chemotherapy, he received ibrutinib three times a day for three months before adding another drug, venetolclax.
Two years later he has no signs of cancer.
He said: “It was the best thing I’ve ever done. I took part in the study three years ago and after two years I was cured and cancer free. It is wonderful.
“My wife and children are all thrilled. I don’t think any of us believed that day would come. It’s wonderful, but I’m so relieved it’s over.
If anyone is ever invited to take part in a research study, I would say trust the nurses and doctors. They know what they’re doing
“I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve had the process successfully, but I hope it can help other people who are going through the same thing.
“If anyone is ever invited to take part in a research study, I would say put your trust in the nurses and doctors. They know what they’re doing.
“You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. And you could save the lives of people with cancer in the future.”
The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), which co-funded the study Mr. Cossins participated in, has launched a Shape the Future campaign to encourage people to get involved in health research.
It runs the “Be Part of Research” service, which has attracted more than 150,000 people so far.
This new digital match-making service helps people find and participate in health and care research across the UK.
People can register their interest via the Be Part of Research website or the NHS app if they live in England and they can choose what health conditions they are interested in, such as diabetes, cancer and back pain, or sign up as Healthy register volunteer.
People can also choose what type of research they want to do, e.g. B. Drug studies, scans, focus groups or filling out online questionnaires.
Mr Cossins said his diagnosis came as “a complete shock”.
I thought I’d rather have chemotherapy because that’s the standard treatment. I thought, “Do I really want to be a guinea pig for new drugs?”
He said: “I had no symptoms and have always been very well. I haven’t had a single day off work due to illness in over 20 years.
“You always think the C-word happens to other people. When they told me, I thought, “That’s it then.”
“You feel so much inevitability about the whole thing.”
Mr Cossins was diagnosed in 2016 and recalls feeling the shock.
“My children were upset when I told them and my wife was even harder to learn that it was me. She was devastated.”
The grandfather, who has three grandchildren aged eight, seven and four, said of her: “I couldn’t tell them the news. They were just too young and I didn’t want them to worry.”
In 2019, his cancer began to spread aggressively. At worst, he began to lose weight and felt extremely tired and lethargic.
In November 2019, Mr. Cossins was invited by a consultant to participate in the FLAIR study on pharmaceuticals.
“At first I didn’t think participating in the process would be something for me,” he said.
“I thought I would prefer chemotherapy because that’s the standard treatment. I thought, “Do I really want to be a guinea pig for new drugs?”
“But after the counselor and nurses explained that by taking these drugs as part of the study, there was a chance of being completely cancer-free in two years, I thought it was worth a try. I had to roll the dice.
“Now I have more time for my grandchildren, my family and my wife.
“We’ve been married for 46 years. I think we will celebrate our cancer freedom with a short break to either Devon or Cornwall.”
Patients and the general public are vital to this research – they are the ones who help researchers find cures, treatments and breakthroughs that can help us, our friends and families live the best and healthiest possible lives
The Executive Director of the NIHR and Senior Scientific Advisor to the Department of Health, Professor Lucy Chappell, said: “The NIHR funds and supports research that aims to make a difference for patients across the country – and even beyond.”
“Our research covers all areas from the laboratory to the clinic. It is leading to new treatments that benefit us in so many different ways in so many different areas of health and care.
“Patients and the general public are critical to this research — they are the ones who are helping researchers find cures, treatments and breakthroughs that can help us, our friends and families live the best, healthiest lives possible.”
Health Secretary Will Quince said: “The volunteers taking part in promising research – including one that has been cured of cancer – are helping researchers make medical breakthroughs and ultimately helping the NHS save lives.”
“The NIHR’s research studies could result in billions of dollars in savings for the NHS and shorten waiting lists through faster diagnosis and improved treatment – but volunteers are essential, so I encourage anyone who is eligible to sign up.”
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/health/sue-people-amersham-buckinghamshire-england-b1082498.html Grandfather who beat cancer urges public to join health research