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Enrolling in a clinical trial ‘saved my life”

April 2, 2018

The main reason I’m passionate about clinical trials is because they’re the only way we can move medicine forward and achieve the kind of progress that will improve the lives of those touched by cancer. This progress always starts with one patient at a time.

Danny is one of my patients who chose to participate in a clinical trial, and he agreed to share some of his story with us. He came to us with Stage 4 bladder cancer and since enrolling in a clinical trial, his cancer has shown a complete response.

Danny is a true testament to how BC Cancer Foundation donors are continuing to fuel breakthrough research discoveries that are leading to more treatment options for patients across the province. Here Danny shares his firsthand experience:

“When my doctor in Victoria first saw my cancer progress, I was told to get my affairs in order. Then he mentioned clinical trials taking place in Vancouver – that got the ball rolling, and quite honestly, saved my life.

I came to Vancouver and Dr. Eigl welcomed me on board. I also met his wonderfully talented clinical nurse, Catherine Pankras.

Right off the bat I was stunned beyond belief with Dr. Eigl’s compassion. He carefully explained the format of the clinical trial I’d be taking part in and told me it was like a lottery – you take your chances and you don’t necessarily know what you’ll get.

I was astounded that, within a month or so, the treatment I was on sent my cancer into remission and has held it off ever since.

This past month was my 17th trip to Vancouver and every time I’ve arrived for treatment Dr. Eigl and the staff have been more than phenomenal with their care – it’s so impressive. They have so many patients but they always seem to treat me like I’m #1 in the world.

There was never one thing that was ever missed or one protocol that wasn’t observed. Everything was always checked and double-checked – they really took the utmost care of me.

I was one of those guys who never had much to do with doctors and hospitals, and I didn’t know this world existed. I didn’t know people could be so compassionate, so loving and so dedicated to the well-being of their patients. It knocked my socks off, plain and simple.

Throughout my treatments, information about the clinical trial I was enrolled in was always readily available. I was given pages and pages of information on what the trial entailed and the side effects, so everything was clear right from the start. I was also fortunate to have the helping hands of many family members and friends.

I know I am lucky and the clinical trial saved my life. Without it I would still have an advancing cancer, but instead I have humour, hope and a bounce in my step.

I do feel guilty sometimes that I’m now healthy and there are so many others out there who are sick. But this is what the doctors and nurses are working so hard for – to see patients happy and prospering. This is their goal.

If a patient has a chance to participate in a clinical trial, I say take it. I know I am a much better person after this experience.”