Advanced prostate cancer patient Gary was an athlete in the first Oncology Olympic Games in Rome. Watch as Gary shares his prostate cancer journey, benefits and knowledge he’s gained from clinical trials, and his advice to others considering participating in a clinical trial.
My name is Gary, I’m 66 years old and in January 2011, I was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic prostate cancer.
I started my journey after the diagnosis, It was quite hard to take because I didn’t have symptoms, and it was a complete shock, and I found out by accident by being in hospital with pneumonia. When I found out, the team came around to talk to me, and they said there are lots of things open to me, like new medications, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and clinical trials. So it started off very positive, and that made me feel positive about it as well. I started off on hormone treatment and my PSA over a few months went down from 255 down to 12. In October of that year, I started on an infusion every four weeks to strengthen the bones and stop osteoporosis. So that was an important move. Then my PSA started rising again, it crept up to 83. So I was only on hormone treatment, and that was when they offered me the PREVAIL trial. I looked up on the Internet about the trial when it was a trial that was known as MD-310 at the first stage of firm tests in America, and then they were rolling out the stage two tests, so I discussed it with my family.
And we decided it would be a good move. And so I signed up for the clinical trial, and I started the trial on the 23rd of December. Being a 50/50 placebo versus drug, I didn’t know whether I was going to be on the drug or not. Come the new year after of couple of months, I started feeling better and my PSA started going down again. I felt more energetic and my consultant agreed with me when I said I thought I was probably on the drug because there’s a difference. It actually was the one thing that I’ve done that changed my life because I had a future, I felt better which I was a bit worried about doing because of the prognosis when they said it was up to two years depending on if I go to a good treatment. And the longer I was on the drug, the better I felt. I had side effects. I was clinically castrated by the drug, because it cuts off all the testosterone apart from that.
I had a very, very good life. My wife and I’ve been married since we’ve been 19. We got married in 1974, and we’re solid as a rock. She is my rock all the way through this. Sometimes it’s harder for her, I think, than for me, because she’s watching what I’m going through. But after I’ve been on it for so long, we got really confident, and life was completely normal. And then came my first grandchild in 2014, and closely followed by the second one, two years later, and then the third one last year in lockdown, and they have made it such of my life such a joy. So I’m so thankful for deciding to go on a clinical trial. I would recommend clinical trials because you’ve got the basic treatments, but clinical trials can make a big difference, because although they are not tested drugs they’re probably the drugs of the future.
And you can get on the ladder early and be on these drugs, and instead of giving it…giving me about three years, it worked for nine years. So it gave me nine years of worry-free life. I’ve had my ups and downs, I had some phases of [inaudible] radiotherapy here and there, but it was…it really did make a massive difference to my life. And I don’t think if I hadn’t gone on that clinical trial, I don’t think I would have been here now. I relish every single minute I’m here and if another clinical trial, that would suit me came up tomorrow, I would definitely think about going on that one as well.