Bob Schampers was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the neck in August 2012. He was happy to be part of TROG Cancer Research ‘POST’ trial, which investigated treatment options for patients with advanced squamous cell carcinoma (one of the most common forms of skin cancer) of the head and neck.
The then 57-year-old roof plumber said he found a lump on his neck one day driving home from work.
“I went for a CT scan and within a week had surgery. The doctors were confident they got it all, but I had radiation and chemotherapy as well just to be safe,” Bob said.
“’Whatever I need, just give it to me’ I said to the doctors.”
Despite a bowel cancer diagnosis around one year after his skin cancer treatment, Bob said he feels reasonably good and felt lucky to be part of the trial.
“I’m a big believer that helping someone else is a good thing,” he said.
More than 320 patients from 23 hospitals and cancer centres from Australia and New Zealand took part in the 11-year trial, which began in 2005.
The results of the POST trial showed that for patients with advanced skin cancer of the head and neck, surgery and post-operative radiation therapy resulted in cure rates of more than 85 per cent.
This confirms that surgery and post-operative radiation treatment should be considered the standard of care for treating this disease.
The trial also showed that the addition of chemotherapy did not improve cure rates. This will save patients from the added side effects associated with chemotherapy.
TROG Cancer Research is a registered charity in Australia, holding the Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status, which means that donations over $2 are tax-deductible.
For over 30 years, Trans-Tasman Radiation Oncology Group has been dedicated to improving the way radiation medicine is delivered to cancer patients with ongoing scientific research, clinical trials, and cutting-edge technology.
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