A COUNTY Limerick woman is advising patients with cancer and other conditions to ask their doctors if they are suitable for a treatment trial.
Rosaline O’Brien from Cappamore is a nurse by profession and was diagnosed with breast cancer following a routine Breast Check visit in 2013.
Having taken part in a trial, she has made a full recovery and says she can heartily recommend the process to other patients.
And she is an active supporter of International Trials Day on this Friday May 20 when patients are being encouraged to enquire about trials and bury some of the myths surrounding the process.
“You still have the treatment but the beauty of it is that they can offer the right type of treatment for the particular cancer you have,” Rosaline told the Limerick Post.
She initially had surgery, and she then went on a clinical trial to assess the benefits of a combination of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormonal treatment versus radiotherapy and hormonal treatment, for patients with her specific type of breast cancer.
She returned to work after a year and continues to be on the hormone therapy.
She said, “I suppose being a nurse and working in University Hospital Limerick I’m very aware of what people go through when they are diagnosed with cancer. My husband Brendan had also died in 2004 after a short battle with cancer. So, you can see why this trial was important to me. I think the only way to fight this awful illness is to invest in trials and hopefully get a cure.”
Rosaline understands that patients are fearful that they won’t get treatment or will be offered a placebo as part of the trial.
“That doesn’t happen. You get full treatment and amazing monitoring during the trial and support in the follow-up. I am still being seen by the team once a year this far on from my recovery.”
To mark International Clinical Trials Day on Friday May 20, Cancer Trials Ireland will host a free webinar on clinical trials for members of the public.
The virtual event to promote public understanding of clinical trials is taking place as part of the ‘Just Ask’ campaign. This initiative encourages patients to enquire of their doctors if there is a clinical trial suitable for them.
The webinar will feature a presentation from clinical trial expert Professor Seamus O’Reilly on how trials work and how to access them, while previous trial participants will share their experiences on what to expect.
The event will take place from 2 to 3pm and will be live streamed online.
Access the webinar here