Dave Brown lives in Hawkinge with his wife and dog. He has worked in sales for over 30 years, has always been very active and fit, and enjoys playing golf twice a week. However, in late 2015, everything changed.
Dave recalls: “After hearing from a number of friends who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and the symptoms they had experienced, I realised I had similar symptoms myself, so thought I ought to get myself checked out”.
A blood test to check his PSA (Prostate-specific Antigen) levels was much higher than normal, so further investigations were then carried out and, unfortunately, these confirmed that Dave had prostate cancer and that this had already spread to other parts of his body.
Dave was invited to take part in the STAMPEDE Trial (Systemic Therapy in Advancing or Metastatic Prostate Cancer: Evaluation of Drug Efficacy) which aims to provide evidence as to what is the best way of treating men with newly diagnosed advanced prostate cancer.
The trial has been open since 2005 and has tested many different ways of treating prostate cancer and some results are already known. Each new or alternative treatment is compared with the current standard approach, referred to as a "comparison". More than 10,000 people have joined STAMPEDE so far, with answers becoming available throughout the trial, as information on life expectancy and disease control rates are gathered and compared.
Dave says: “I felt the trial may be beneficial to me. It would help to learn more about how best to treat prostate cancer which would also be useful in helping others, so it made sense to me to take part”.
At the time Dave participated, the trial was looking at whether adding Radiotherapy to standard treatment would be beneficial. Dave received 6 cycles of chemotherapy + hormone treatment and, in addition to this, he also received radiotherapy which involved 20 appointments for treatment over a 4-week period as part of the trial. Fortunately, Dave tolerated the treatment with minimal side effects and responded well - his PSA levels are now undetectable!
Dave found the experience of taking part in the trial was very positive: “The research staff were very supportive and reassuring throughout and always answered any questions I had”.
Thanks to people like Dave, researchers were able to determine whether this type of treatment for advanced prostate cancer was effective. The results of the study showed that treating the prostate with radiotherapy, alongside standard treatment, substantially improves survival for some men with advanced prostate cancer.
Dave says: “Taking part in this trial has basically saved my life! I am happy to help in any way I can”.
For more information about the STAMPEDE Trial, visit http://www.stampedetrial.org/