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Thursday 21 March 2019
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Stephen Roberts, cancer patient
Stephen Roberts says research has kept him alive for the last three years

Salford Royal cancer patient 'owes his life to research'

A Salford Royal cancer patient who volunteered to take part in a study says he owes his life to research.

Stephen Roberts was diagnosed with prostate cancer three years ago but was told the tumour was too aggressive for him to have chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Instead he has been having hormone therapy as part of the Stampede study – a major UK and Switzerland based research trial looking at the effect of adding new or different treatments to the standard way in which prostate cancer is currently managed.

Stephen, a former HGV driver, travels from his home in North Wales to Salford Royal every three months for checks. He said: “As far as I am concerned, research has kept me alive for the last three years. If you’re on a research trial, you know you’re getting the best treatment there is.”

Research also played a key part in the 66-year-old’s diagnosis. It was when he volunteered to take part in a study of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that the researchers flagged up concerns about blood in his urine – one of the symptoms of prostate cancer.

His lung condition had forced his retirement but he had been keen to get involved with research: “I thought helping them might help me and help others,” he said. “It turned out I was in the right place at the right time and the NHS has done a marvellous job, first to diagnose the cancer when I wasn’t aware of any symptoms and then to treat me with these drugs, which to me, have saved my life.”

Prostate cancer accounts for around one fifth of all male cancers. In the UK there are around 47,000 new cases each year and around 10,800 deaths.

The aim of the Stampede (Systemic Therapy in Advancing or Metastatic Prostate Cancer: Evaluation of Drug Efficacy) trial is to try to prevent tumour re-growth by adding other treatments to hormone therapy.