Clinical trials help us all

May 14, 2018

Vicki Clowes, Babak Tamjid, Ayesha Saqib, Karen Matheson, Carole Mott, Jauier Torres, Arvind Sahu and front Allan Howard.

Allan Howard is an avid believer in clinical trials.

The Rushworth resident is one of many prostate cancer patients trialling a new treatment at Goulburn Valley Health in Shepparton, which he believes has dramatically changed his quality of life.

Ahead of International Clinical Trials Day on Sunday, Mr Howard is sharing first-hand the positive effects medical research has.

‘‘I’d lost a friend to leukaemia a couple of years prior and I remember him saying his life was lengthened because he was offered trials and they really helped him,’’ he said.

‘‘I thought I would take his advice and if it helps that’s great, but more importantly if I can help others on my journey than that is something worth doing.’’

Mr Howard is one of 1100 people trialling a new prostate cancer treatment, which involves a Zoladex implant injected into the skin of his stomach every three months, along with taking four Enzamet tablets a day.

After being on the trial for nearly two years, Mr Howard is now in ‘‘controlled remission’’.

‘‘The real advantage of a trial like this is that it is nowhere near as severe on your body as chemotherapy would be,’’ he said.

‘‘For me it gave me a second chance, if my body starts to think this isn’t for me than I still have back up in terms of chemo and other more invasive treatments.’’

Clinical trials are medical research studies aimed at finding a better way to manage a particular disease and provide early access to new therapies.

International Clinical Trials Day marks the day James Lind started a controlled trial study to determine the cause of scurvy.

Around the world the day is now celebrated to raise awareness of the importance of clinical trials and research in healthcare.

Goulburn Valley Health oncology clinical director Babak Tamjid said clinical trials were especially important in the continually evolving field of oncology.

‘‘Clinical trials provide an extra option for patients ... an option that generally we cannot provide to them based on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme,’’ he said.

‘‘Patients that go on the trial may benefit, but they also help a whole heap of patients in the future that are in the same situation.

‘‘Along with helping to improve the knowledge and experience and bring the medication available to everyone.’’

Following the success in the trial, Mr Howard was grateful his quality of life had not been impacted through more invasive treatments.

‘‘I get the hot and cold sweats and get a little bit lethargic but apart from those sorts of things my quality of life is fine,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ve lost friends from prostate cancer, so I want to reinforce the message of early detection.

‘‘If you get the opportunity to support medical research then do it, because some of these treatments are much more liveable.’’

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