Photo of the mum with her husband and two children

Mum of two diagnosed with cancer calls south London cancer trial ‘absolute game-changer’

A mum of two who was diagnosed with cancer said a south London cancer trial has been an ‘absolute game-changer’ for herself and her family.

After being diagnosed with stage four breast cancer in 2020, Kate Eddleston, 46, from Epsom, Surrey, said raising her two young, energetic boys aged three and five was a daily struggle due to her fatigue from cancer treatment.

However, her life was transformed after she took part in the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) MePFAC trial, which aims to find out whether methylphenidate, a stimulant drug that can improve brain activity, helps people with tiredness caused by advanced cancer.

Speaking about her fatigue before taking part in the trial, Eddleston said: “I felt frustrated and guilty as I couldn’t do the things I needed to do as a wife and mum.

“The tiredness meant I had to reduce my working hours, and I was reluctant to make plans with my friends or visit family in case I needed to stop and rest.

“Being able to take part in the MePFAC trial has been an absolute game-changer.

“Within a few weeks, I got my energy back. Having the drug has given me the ability to look after my boys and take the pressure off Mike [her husband].

“I also have the confidence to make plans with friends and family again.”

The trial involved Kate taking regular blood pressure checks and completing a series of questionnaires as part of her involvement.

Eddleston emphasised how reassured she felt by the extra contact and monitoring from The Royal Marsden’s trials team.

She has also encouraged more volunteers to take part in clinical research to improve cancer survival rates and treatments for ourselves and future generations.

The MePFAC trial, which receives sponsorship from University College London, is carried out at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and is supported by the NIHR Clinical Research Network South London.

The Principal Investigator for the MePFAC trial, Dr Angela Halley, said: “I am so pleased to hear of the benefits to Kate of participating in this study investigating whether methylphenidate may be effective for fatigue in cancer patients.

“It is so important that we investigate supportive treatments for cancer patients.

“With the support of the NIHR, we are continuing to recruit to this study and if any other Royal Marsden patients are interested in participating then I would encourage them to contact me or the NIHR for further information.”

The NIHR’s stated mission is to improve the wealth of the nation through funding high quality, timely research on complex health challenges that benefits the NHS, public health and social care.

Funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, they have also said they are partnering with patients, service users, carers and communities to improve the relevance, quality and impact of their research.

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