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‘Big decisions’: Vicky Phelan considering stopping clinical trial

Vicky Phelan says she is thinking about cancelling a new clinical trial to treat her cancer in the US, which is due to begin soon.


by Jennifer McShane
21st Aug 2021

Vicky Phelan via Twitter

‘Big decisions’: Vicky Phelan considering stopping clinical trial

 

Phelan is undergoing a year-long treatment in Maryland and had taken a month-long break this summer to return to Ireland and spend some time with her family.

Sharing photos from a hotel, she wrote on Instagram: “I am taking a few days away from everything because I have some big decisions to make next week.”

In November last year, she shared that her cancer was growing again. Rather than opt for palliative care in Ireland, she decided to move to the US alone for a months-long clinical trial that could potentially slow the growth of her tumours.

Since her return to the US, she has been researching other options for treatment as she wishes to spend more time with her children and is unsure if the new treatment she is to receive is worth the time apart from her loved ones.

Phelan was diagnosed with terminal cervical cancer in 2014, after a 2011 smear failed to detect any abnormalities. She was one of the first to take a case against the State and brought the controversy into the public eye.

“Following my post last week, I have still not had my scans and other tests done in order to get me started on the new clinical trial. I am booked in for all of that next Tuesday. In the meantime, I have been doing a lot of thinking and also reading up on this new trial and researching other options (there are very few!).”

“This new clinical trial is a Phase 1 trial. That means that the combination of drugs has not been tested yet on patients. I would be among the first patients to give this a go,” she explained. Two of the three drugs are the same as what I was already taking on the previous trial. There is one new drug. I am not convinced that the addition of this one drug is going to make the difference for me.”

She went onto say that as a result, she was no longer sure the time spent apart from her family and loved ones was worth it.

Is it worth spending another 6 months away from my children, who I am missing terribly this time round, for what…3 or 4 months stability?

She had been receiving the drug M784 and initially, it was quite successful. There are limited options, she says, but it’s just making the right one for her and her family that matters now.

“I have voiced my concerns with my doctor and he understands where I’m coming from. He has proposed that I just do four infusions of this new drug combination and have a scan and see if it works. If there is no change, then I go home. If it works and tumours shrink, then we continue with treatment.”

She added she believes the only alternative for her is to return to Ireland for chemotherapy, which she says is still a short-term option.

“What’s the alternative? Go home and go on chemotherapy and get some shrinkage of my tumours in the short term (they WILL grow back though!) and spend that quality time with my children and maybe something new will come along or maybe my doctor will have some really good preliminary results from this new trial and I come back and start on the trial then? There are so many questions and scenarios playing out in my head at the moment that I needed to get away for a few days and just rest, relax and unwind.”

She thanked followers for their support and promised to update them when she knew more.