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  • Case Studies

    Our patients’ stories, in their own words

  • Case Studies

    Our patients’ stories, in their own words

Adrian's story

Providing hope and transforming outcomes through the latest clinical trials.

Adrian was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer at the age of 65.

Adrian’s story illustrates how HCA patients’ prospects can be transformed by access to treatments that are not available elsewhere.

At the age of 65, Adrian had a biopsy and Choline PET scan and was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. He was distraught that, because of the advanced nature of his cancer, many treatment options would not be worthwhile. His specialist told him that, as with any advanced prostate cancer, the best they could hope for was to slow the progression of the cancer and “buy time”.

Following this news Adrian was determined to make the most of the time he had left by continuing his work as an executive at a charity and spending time with his family. He was at least heartened when his specialist told him that many prostate cancer patients are able to live long, normal lives, as long as their disease is controlled.

Hormone therapy
The best option to control Adrian’s prostate cancer was hormone therapy to deprive the cancer of the testosterone it needed to grow. His hormone therapy was managed from HCA’s Leaders in Oncology Care, which Adrian visited once a month for a check-up and to collect his prescription of oral hormone drugs. This arrangement was very convenient for Adrian, who was able to focus on enjoying his family life and continuing his work. Leaders in Oncology Care and The Prostate Centre also gave him the support he needed to help him not worry too much about his situation.

One of the disadvantages of hormone therapy is that the cancer often stops responding to this treatment after a few years and begins to grow again. Therefore after 18 months, when his specialist told him that his cancer was progressing again, Adrian was dejected but not surprised.

For patients at other providers this could represent the “end of the road”, and the only treatment available to Adrian would have been palliative care (minimising suffering for terminally ill patients). Having managed to live such a full life since his diagnosis, the last thing Adrian wanted to do was give up. However, without treatment options he would have little choice.

Clinical trials
Luckily for Adrian, the Sarah Cannon Research Institute UK (SCRI) clinical trial facility meant that HCA could offer him an alternative. One of the many trials SCRI were running at the time was treating prostate cancer patients with Abiraterone. This is a new type of hormone therapy that represents a potential extra line of defence for patients whose traditional hormone therapies have stopped working.

Adrian felt privileged to be given access to Abiraterone for his own treatment, and also proud to participate in an activity that could improve the treatment of prostate cancer in the future. Adrian was rapidly enrolled in the trial and began treatment with the new drug. A few months later, Adrian was relieved and elated when his specialist informed him that the trial treatment was proving effective, and Abiraterone was helping to re- establish disease control. This transformed Adrian’s prognosis and meant he could look forward to further enjoyment of family life and an extended period of productivity at work. Adrian’s life expectancy on the trial is now 2 to 3 years, and he will likely benefit from access to other new trials before this period is over.

Clinical Prevention and Rehabilitation
Over this traumatic period, Adrian’s oncologist also recommended that he enroll with Clinical Prevention and Rehabilitation (CP+R). CP+R are another part of the HCA network that provides clinical prevention and rehabilitation services. The team at CP+R worked with Adrian to develop a personalised programme aligned with his treatment to maximise his physical and mental fitness throughout. As a result, during much of his treatment Adrian met with a personal instructor once a week to work on his regular exercise and nutrition programmes. Working with CP+R helped Adrian to enjoy his life despite the cancer, his treatment and the associated hormonal changes.

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