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Participants talk about cancer trials

Author: Petrina Vousden
05 August 2016

A series of six shorts videos which involve people talking directly about their experience taking part in a cancer trial has been released by Cancer Trials Ireland.

The videos are designed to give people who have been diagnosed with cancer a first-hand insight into what they might expect if they decide to take part in a cancer trial.

Colm Devon reveals in one of the videos how he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January 2015 at The Mater Hospital, Dublin.

After nine chemotherapy sessions he was told the tumour had not shrunk and he was looking at “quality of life rather than cure”.

However,  he was told about a clinical trial being conducted which he qualified for. He said he signed up for the trial and “hasn’t looked back since.”

Another patient, Frank O’Duffy reveals how his skin cancer spread to his liver despite treatment. His consultant told him about a clinical trial being conducted that he was suitable for. After consulting with his family he decided to take part.

“I knew I had cancer and it had spread and it was serious. This was a chance worth taking,” Mr O’Duffy said.  He said he would not have been able to access the drug if it wasn’t for the clinical trial. Mr O’Duffy said his involvement in a clinical trial has been a “successful experience” for him.

Eibhlin Mulroe, CEO of Cancer Trials Ireland, said that the idea of taking part in a cancer trial can be unnerving for people with cancer and their families.

“Being diagnosed with cancer and undergoing treatment can turn your world upside down. Considering a cancer trial on top of that can be unsettling”, she said.

“Because these short videos feature people who have themselves been directly involved in trials they tells us in a very authentic way what it is like to take part in a cancer trial. We really appreciate them sharing their experiences publically.”

“We hope they will encourage more people to consider the option of a cancer trail and very importantly ask their health care professional whether there is a suitable trial for them” she said.

The videos are part of Cancer Trials Ireland’s ‘Just Ask’ campaign to encourage patients and their families to ask about cancer trials and whether there is one available that might suit them.

Cancer Trials Ireland has also published a leaflet which answers the top ten question people may have about cancer trials. It is available at

Cancer trials can provide patients with access to treatments that show promise but are not yet available outside a trial. These treatments are provided free and patients are monitored by their consultant and local research team throughout the trial. 

The videos are available to view at Cancer Trials Ireland’s website.

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