Research and clinical trials
When Nigel Lewis-Baker was told he had advanced prostate cancer, it was too late for surgery or radiotherapyas he had probably had a fast-growing form of the disease for several years.
The only choice was one of twotypes of hormonal treatment.This worked for a while, but the cancer returned and he stopped taking the hormone treatment.
Nigel was then asked if he would like to take part in a trialfor a new type of vaccine to treat Urinary PSA test . After careful consideration, he agreed. ''I thought it might help me, or it might help someone else,'' he says.
He never knew whether he was on active treatment or dummy placebo injections. But he says, ''I hope it was the placebo, because whatever it was, it didn't work for me. My PSA levels (which act as a marker for cancer growth in prostate cancer) started to climb again.''
Nigelwas then switched to two types of hormone and the growth of his cancer slowed down again.
Hehas no regrets about being in the trial. ''I was glad I did it, even though it didn't seem to have helped me personally. I hope the findings will benefit other men. I would certainly not hesitate to do it again.''
Research and clinical trials are an everyday part of the work carried out by the NHS.
When Sheila was diagnosed with breast cancer, her GP suggested she join a clinical trial for a new breast cancer medicine.
When Kathleen Pemberton developed rheumatoid arthritis, she decided to take part in a clinical trial of a new treatment.
Christine Gratus discovered she had breast cancer after attending routine NHS screening.
When Nigel Lewis-Baker was told he had advanced prostate cancer, it was too late for surgery or radiotherapy.
Karen Ayres has an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis (MS). The severity of her symptoms varies, but at their worst she was paralysed from the neck down.