Former prostate cancer-patient Eddie Mac Eoin is encouraging all men above the age of 50 to go and get checked as soon as they experience any abnormalities. A simple blood test is all that is required.
After being kept up at night, and feeling increasingly higher levels of discomfort, alarm bells were ringing for Eddie Mac Eoin from Cork.
He went to the doctors where a blood test confirmed that he had significantly high levels of prostate specific antigens (PSA).
After a second blood test and finding out the PSA levels had significantly increased, Eddie was referred to a urologist for further testing where 12 different samples of his prostate were taken, ten of which were at an aggressive cancer level.
Receiving a diagnosis of prostate cancer
In February 2015, Eddie was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 59. He recalls his initial feelings of terror and shock, as he was told the news that he had an aggressive large tumour in his prostate.
Eddie was consulted by his doctor who provided him with an array of different treatment pathways for moving forward. At the time of diagnosis, Eddie faced one of the hardest moments in his life, when he had to relay the news to his family. After much deliberation, together they made the decision that the best way forward would be to undergo a clinical trial. Eddie recalls ‘’talking about it and properly informing my family helped me cope, it was important to keep them in the loop every step of the way’’.
The treatment that led to signs of recovery
The clinical trial that Eddie sign up to was running for cancer patients whose cancer has not started to spread to other parts of their body. He was told that half the cancer patients in the group would receive ‘’a new drug’’ while the other half would receive ‘’conventional treatment’ all participants were to receive the same treatment and the only difference was the drug itself Eddie says. He recalls, ‘’you’ll do anything when you hear news like that, so I opted for the trial, it was a family decision’’.
After proceeding through the trial, it became evident early on the positive effects that emerged as Eddie landed in the category that received the new drug. He was told that after receiving the new treatment his tumour had been significantly reduced and he was now ready to begin the second half of the trial. Eddie was moved onto radiation therapy which entailed 39 sessions of treatment. The treatment procedure took a heavy toll on his physical and mental state as he would previously spend his days walking and golfing and keeping up with his family. The radiation sessions left him feeling ‘’constantly lethargic and fatigued’’ Eddie says. Despite this, he was reassured that he was slowly but surely on his way to recovery. Amongst all the hardship the Mac Eoin family were experiencing, the year after Eddie’s diagnosis his first grandchild was born, which lifted spirits ‘‘You become foolish when you have grandkids’’ Eddie says.
Creating further awareness around clinical trials
Eddie feels that it’s important that more people become aware and educated on the benefits of clinical trials and the role they play in improving patient pathways. For many patients it allows the opportunity to access medicine and personalised care which they may not otherwise receive through other treatment pathways. With new innovative treatments being developed, tested through clinical trials and approved, Eddie hopes that younger generations will be able to have access to the treatments they need to get better.
Eddie today, cancer free
Eddie will be celebrating his 63rd birthday in July this year and currently has his hands full with three beautiful grandchildren, one of which his family welcomed into the world a couple of days ago on the 26th June. He is now cancer-free and back to enjoying his retirement gardening, golfing and being foolish with his grandchildren.