Dai’s story: “Taking part in research like this is a no brainer”

Following surgery to remove melanoma in his foot, Dai, 69, was told his cancer had a high chance of recurring. He is now taking part in a pioneering new trial at The Royal Marsden.

In April 2023, Dai, 69, was diagnosed with melanoma in his foot. Following surgery, biopsy results showed his cancer had spread to his lymph nodes. This meant he had a greater risk of recurrence.

Dai was referred to The Royal Marsden to receive immunotherapy and opted to join the EXACT trial, which receives funding from The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. This is his story.

Receiving a melanoma diagnosis

“In April 2023, I was diagnosed with a malignant acral lentiginous melanoma in my foot.”

“We went to a wedding abroad in January 2023, and my wife commented that she didn’t like the look of my heel. When we came back to the UK, we went to the GP who referred me to a podiatrist.”

Headshot of Dai, smiling

“Three weeks later, there was a rounded growth on my heel and the podiatrist sent me right back to my GP who sent me for a biopsy. My results came back as a malignant acral melanoma.”

“In mid-May, I had surgery to have the cancer removed from my foot, along with a sentinel node biopsy. The results confirmed that my cancer had spread. They did an additional test to check the melanoma from my foot had been successfully removed, and thankfully it had.”

Coming to The Royal Marsden

“Due to the results of my sentinel node biopsy, they told me that I qualified for immunotherapy treatment. I was transferred to The Royal Marsden in July under the care of Professors Samra Turajlic and James Larkin and I started undergoing immunotherapy treatment, called Pembrolizumab, almost straight away.”

“They told me this would be a type of Adjuvant therapy (which is often used after primary treatments, such as surgery, to lessen the chance of cancer coming back). I have it every six weeks at Chelsea.”

Joining the EXACT trial

Dai joined the EXACT clinical trial led by Professor Samra Turajlic, Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden. The trial, which receives funding from The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, is one of the most comprehensive studies dedicated to investigating the inflammatory side effects of immunotherapy.

“When I met the EXACT clinical trial research team, they gave me all the information I needed in a totally understandable and clear way.”

“Initially I didn’t have any side effects from my treatment but I’ve started experiencing a few over the last six weeks or so – mainly to do with swollen joints and pain in my joints. This can be difficult at times, but I think I could be experiencing a lot worse.”

“The treatment seems to be having a positive effect on me and my cancer, based on the blood tests and monitoring – it seems to be working so far.”

Dai seated in a hospital chair with nurse

Outstanding support from The Royal Marsden

“From the very first appointment I had at The Royal Marsden with Professor Samra Turajlic, I knew I was in the best hands. Samra was amazing and explained everything to me so well. I couldn’t have asked for better care.”

The support that comes from being a trial patient at The Royal Marsden is second to none

“The support that comes from being a trial patient at The Royal Marsden is second to none. The team are so reassuring and say I can call them at any time if I’m worried about anything.”

“Professor Larkin and his team are an outstanding group of professionals. They give you a very clear message about how energised and committed they are to be treating this disease – and how active they are in being at the forefront of pioneering cancer treatments.”

Why I took part in a clinical trial

“Anything I can do to contribute towards research like this is fundamental for the future – otherwise things don’t progress.”

“For me, taking part in and contributing towards research like this is a no brainer. I wouldn’t be where I am and getting the treatment I’m receiving today if other people before me hadn’t volunteered to take part in research.”

Help us fund innovative research

The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity is the largest charitable funder of research at The Royal Marsden. Thanks to our supporters, we can fund pioneering clinical trials – like the one Dai has taken part in – which help improve treatment and care for patients at The Royal Marsden, across the UK, and all over the world.

Discover more about ways you can support us.

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