The Medical Trial

I suppose this probably counts as an adverse event.

Before I get into the main topic for this blog I quickly want to thank everyone who has donated so far to my fundraising page for Macmillan Cancer Support. The page has only been live a few days and is already just shy of a quarter of the way to the target amount which is amazing!

If you haven’t donated yet, a link to do so is just to the right of this blog ( or below on mobile devices ) or you can go to to read the full story behind the fundraising.

Anything you can give to support this amazing organisation will be really appreciated!

I’ve been wanting to write up about the medical trial for a while now, just to go over what it is and what’s involved etc. So that’s what this post is going to be about.

Firstly to be accepted on the trial I have to undergo a number of tests, essentially checking me for every ailment as a just in case. If I have anything they don’t know about then of course they need to know, or anything which may affect the treatment I’d be given and so impact the trial.

No stone is being left unturned from blood tests for everything to an echo cardiogram and a full CT scan including head. The results of these ultimately decide whether I’m eligible for the trial or not.

All very thorough and unfortunately take time to arrange and carry out meaning treatment gets delayed by 2 weeks or so, but it’s a small price to pay.

Given the level of pain I had they did offer me a one off radiotherapy treatment which had to be done immediately so the effects of that would end before the trial started. ( )

This Friday I have the CT scan booked in and that should be the last of the tests completed.

The trial itself is for an immunotherapy drug called atezolizumab. It’s the same family of drugs which has been all over the news recently ( ) as a “revolutionary new treatment” with great success rates.

Chemotherapy works by actively killing cells which multiply at a high rate, hence why a common side effect is hair loss as the cells in hair multiply faster than others. Immunotherapy works by boosting the number of immune system cells which can fight cancer so your body can then fight the cancerous cells itself.

On the trial I will be on one of three possible treatments plans.

  • Immunotherapy on its own
  • Chemotherapy and immunotherapy together
  • Chemotherapy and a placebo

Which I end up on is randomly chosen by computer and if on either plan involving chemotherapy then I won’t know which. If on the immunotherapy only option then i’ll know.

During the trial I will need to have more tests than would be usual for cancer treatment to monitor how everything is progressing – which means potentially a busy few month’s of appointments.

All this is dependent on me being approved for the trial, if that doesn’t happen for any reason the fall back is regular chemotherapy. All being well though I would expect to start the trial treatment next week or the week after at the latest.

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