When Viv Allan was diagnosed with secondary lung cancer last year, the Adelaide grandfather was determined not to let it derail his plans for the future. This is his story.
After being treated for kidney cancer two years earlier, a routine check-up found the cancer had spread to his lungs and he began radiotherapy treatment.
“It was another shock to myself and my family. I was looking forward to travelling and enjoying retirement but everything was put on hold,” Viv said.
Viv (pictured with his grandson) decided to join the TROG 1301 (SAFRON II) clinical trial at Royal Adelaide Hospital, co-ordinated by TROG Cancer Research, to receive a new form of cancer treatment called Stereotactic Ablative Body Radiotherapy (SABR), which is targeted to tumours that have limited spread from the primary to the lung.
Lead researcher, Dr Shankar Siva, said the aim of the SAFRON II trial was to quantify the benefit of SABR treatment, which offers the opportunity to eradicate secondaries in the lung, and may offer the potential for long-term disease control.
“In general, we expect SABR to be highly effective at controlling cancer – approximately 90% successful. It is non-invasive and delivered as an outpatient visit in as little as a single treatment or as four treatments as part of this trial,” Dr Siva said.
“We expect the rate of side-effects to be relatively low in the short term. Additionally, we suspect that SABR may be able to assist in kick-starting the patient’s immune system into fighting any remaining cancer cells, and we aim to investigate this possible effect as part of the trial.”
In the future, it is hoped that stereotactic radiotherapy treatment will be made available as an alternative to removing lung tumours by surgery, or given to those patients who are unable to have surgery.
Viv, who is sharing his story during lung cancer awareness month, said that he was motivated to join the clinical trial to help others in the future receive better treatment and to one day find a cure. He is now looking forward to spending more time with his loved ones.
“Only now, after great results can I plan the next adventure,” he said.
SAFRON II is being conducted and sponsored by TROG Cancer Research, in collaboration with the Australasian Lung Cancer Trials Group (ALTG).
Close to 800 patients have joined a TROG lung cancer clinical trial since the Group’s inception, over 25 years ago.
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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