Health: Trials can help to tame cancer

Cancer survivor Nicki Embleton launches a campaign to encourage people regionally to put themselves forward for clinical trials. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Cancer survivor Nicki Embleton launches a campaign to encourage people regionally to put themselves forward for clinical trials. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

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Scientists and researchers are hard at work every day in Leeds aiming to tackle the fear-inducing C-word.

Cancer strikes fear into the hearts of us all. It comes about often unannounced and tries to take away the people we love the most. We’ve all felt loss at the hands of cancer.

Defiantly researchers at hospitals in Leeds are trudging on and gradually bringing about more and more lifesaving and life-extending advances in treatment.

I’ve had the great pleasure of seeing some the work first-hand, and it was difficult not to be impressed at the scale of the operation – corridors of laboratories at Leeds St James’s Hospital dedicated to breaking the enigma code of cancer.

As a result of my tour, I was told of some of the ground-breaking clinical trials, some involving scientists from all over the world, that Leeds is taking part in. But these trials only work and help advance treatments through the will of the cancer patients who take part in them.

A campaign to encourage more people to come forward and take part in clinical trials was launched last week.

In Leeds, Cancer Research UK’s campaign is being fronted by Nicki Embleton, 50, from Ossett, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004.

She was prescribed two life-saving cancer drugs, tamoxifen and herceptin – the latter at that point was relatively new – and puts the fact that she was treated with those drugs down to the women that took part in trials before her to further the understanding of treatment.

Cancer is a vicious animal that we are all too familiar with, but Nicki’s story proves that working together and backing clinical trials can help tame the beast.

FACTFILE

More than 2,000 patients took part in cancer trials in Leeds last year.

Cancer Research UK currently supports more than 250 clinical trials testing new cancer drugs and treatments across the UK.

Cancer Research UK supports six out of 10 clinical trials linked to children’s and young adults’ cancer in the UK.

Last year Cancer Research UK spent around £31million supporting ground-breaking trials which continue to save the lives of thousands of people worldwide.

Visit CRUK.org/trials or call 0808 8004040 for further information on Cancer Research UK’s clinical trials.

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