I remember back to April 2017 when my bladder cancer returned, and the next step was to explore clinical trial options. I was familiar with the word clinical trial and knew what that meant. I did not know how a clinical trial was going to affect the treatment of my bladder cancer or what I would have to go through as a patient.
When I was presented with two clinical trial options I found out one study I would not be eligible due to where the cancer returned and being able to biopsy the area. The other clinical trial involved more traveling and being in the clinic once a week. This was also a Phase 1 clinical trial meaning this was the first time the medication was being given to patients.
The clinical trial nurse read over the entire study with me to ensure I understood the trial, side effects, and what was going to be expected of me to participate in the Phase 1 trial. The complete review of the study is standard and required so the patient understands the clinical trial and allows for asking any questions a patient might have regarding the study.
"By making a commitment to cancer research, I hope to one day vision a future immune to bladder cancer and all cancers."
While the nurse was reading the trial to me, I thought what have I got to lose? I could help to advance bladder cancer treatments. Finding better treatment options and improving bladder cancer treatments is something I wanted to be apart of to give hope to other bladder cancer patients and to change the stigma of clinical trials participation.
The clinical trial was successful, and I am sure science learned much about bladder cancer and FGFR proteins. By the end of the trial, I was back to no evidence of disease(NED), and I remained on Immunotherapy treatment to ensure all the cancer cells were gone.
In 2019 my commitment to bladder cancer research remains the same, but I am even more committed to finding better treatment options, how to improve treatment options, quality of life and prolong life. I have never more dedicated to cancer research than I am now.
I have decided to participate in A Randomized Cross-Over Trial to Assess the Immunological Response to Acute Exercise
During Infusion Therapy. We know there are many benefits to being physically active in general, but what about during and after cancer treatment? Each time we exercise there are changes in the body there are physical changes and internal changes that happen.
How about how does cardiovascular activity affect our immune system? Have you ever thought how each session of exercise affects the immune system by moving cells capable of fighting infections and cancers into the bloodstream? The research study I am participating in examins this activity while I am getting acute exercise during my immunotherapy sessions.
Further, acute exercise also redistributes blood flow to organs and during infusion therapy has the potential to reduce side-effects such as nausea and fatigue and improve the effectiveness of cancer therapies.
This research aims to determine if these redistribution of immune cells are similar in patients with cancer and what the effects of infusion therapy are with hopes to improve strategies for cancer therapies to increase survival and quality of life.
While this research may not have a direct impact on my cancer treatment, it has the potential to help cancer patients in the future. As a cancer and research advocate, I encourage you to self-advocate for ways you can improve research either through a clinical trial or a voluntary research study where you have to choose to take part in. By making a commitment to cancer research, I hope to one day vision a future immune to bladder cancer and all cancers.
Founder, Crush It For Curtis Foundation