“I don’t think I would be here now if I hadn’t taken part in a clinical trial”

“I don’t think I would be here now if I hadn’t taken part in a clinical trial”

“I don’t think I would be here now if I hadn’t taken part in a clinical trial”


Steve Colman, aged 63 from Nottinghamshire was first diagnosed with neck cancer in 2012.


Just two months after reaching the five-year-all-clear milestone, Steve received the devastating news that his cancer had returned and that there was only a 20 – 30% chance of survival.


Upon hearing the news, his oncologist told him about a clinical trial recruiting at Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield – the region’s only specialist cancer hospital.


Every two weeks, Steve travels from Nottingham to Weston Park Hospital to take part in an immunotherapy trial, which specifically treats people whose head and neck cancer has recurred, or where the disease is incurable at presentation.


Speaking of the affect his cancer diagnosis had, Steve commented:


“Before treatment started I was going downhill fast. I had very little strength and went from eight paracetamol a day to prescription painkillers plus morphine. Five weeks after two infusions, I was taking no painkillers at all. My strength was coming back, and this is when I believed the immunotherapy treatment might be able to save me.”


Steve, who has been on the trial since October 2017, added:


“I don’t think I would be here now if I hadn’t taken part in a clinical trial. I’m still working and can once again enjoy by hobbies, which include metal detecting, woodworking and playing the guitar.”


The Cancer Clinical Trials unit is a purpose built facility, generously funded by Weston Park Cancer Charity, which allows patients and staff to participate in high quality cancer research. Since its inception, Weston Park Cancer Charity has invested thousands of pounds to fund research nurses, data managers and laboratory support, to assist the internationally renowned research which takes places each and every day.


“I would like to say a big thank you to Consultant Clinical Oncologist, Dr Foran and my Research Nurse, Charlotte Miller, who helped me through this by putting my mind at rest and answering my many questions. They are two of the nicest and caring people you could ever wish to meet and I instantly knew I was in safe hands when I first met them.”


As a thank you for the life-changing care Steve received, he has raised over £400 so that more patients like him can access ground-breaking clinical trials.


“I wanted to do everything I could to help raise funds – in the past I’d made guitars, so I thought this would be a good thing to do and sell on eBay. I’ve made about six guitars so far and all the profit goes to Weston Park Cancer Charity. It’s a two way thing – I get to build guitars which I love doing, and I also get to support the charity which has helped me.”


Dr Bernie Foran commented:


“When I first met Mr Colman in September 2017, his recurrent cancer was progressing rapidly and he was getting increasing symptoms, including severe pain and difficulty eating. He had to stop working because of the severity of these symptoms and his quality of life was very poor. I wasn’t certain what benefit he would receive from the treatment but he was very keen to try anything because of the dire situation he was in.


“He has had an amazing response. He certainly hasn’t let the grass grow under his feet – he is back working and enjoying his hobbies, which not only includes playing the guitar, but also making them, as well as Niwaki (Japanese topiary)! On top of which he attends Weston Park every two weeks.


“The benefit that he and many other patients have had would not be possible without clinical research and this would be more difficult without the support from Weston Park Cancer Charity. I am so grateful to Steve, the charity and all the wonderful patients who inspire me to do my job to the best of my abilities.”