Grandad, 71, cured of cancer without any chemotherapy – 'I’m so relieved it’s over'
Stephen Cossins, 71, hasn’t taken a day off work sick in over 20 years thanks to his good health.
It came as a shock when he was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia in 2016 after having no symptoms.
This type of rare cancer affects the blood and bone marrow and usually can’t be cured, the NHS explains.
Stephen, from Amersham in Buckinghamshire, recalled receiving the gloomy news of his diagnosis: “You always think the C word happens to other people.
“When they told me, I thought ‘that’s it then’. You feel so much inevitability about the whole thing.
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“My children were distraught when I told them and my wife was hit harder by the news that I was. She was devastated.”
The 71-year-old also has three grandchildren, aged eight, seven and four, who didn’t know about his cancer battle.
Stephen explained he couldn’t break the news to them as they were “too young” and he didn’t want them to worry.
Three years after his diagnosis, his health deteriorated even more as the cancer began to spread aggressively, leaving him extremely tired, lethargic and losing weight.
However, the grandad is now cancer free which he puts down to an experimental therapy that he was reluctant to try at first.
As the cancer was spreading around his body, he decided to take part in a clinical trial focused at blocking the growth of cancer.
Instead of chemotherapy, he was put on a series of drugs he took daily.
Two years later, he has no signs of cancer which he described as “amazing”.
He said: “It was the best thing I ever did. I entered the trial three years ago and was cured, cancer free, after two years.
“My wife and children are all delighted. I don’t think any of us believed this day would come. It’s wonderful but I’m so relieved it’s over.
“I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve been successful on the trial but I hope it can help other people going through the same thing.
“If anyone is ever invited to take part in a research study, I’d say put your faith and trust in the nurses and doctors. They know what they are doing.
“You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. And you could save the lives of people living with cancer in the future.”
The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), which helped fund the study the grandad took part in, has launched a Shape the Future campaign to urge people to join health research.
It runs the Be Part of Research service, which has attracted more than 150,000 people so far.
Health minister, Will Quince, added: “The volunteers who are taking part in promising research – including one who was cured of cancer – are helping researchers find medical breakthroughs and ultimately helping the NHS to save lives.
“NIHR’s research studies can lead to billions of pounds in savings for the NHS and cut waiting lists through faster diagnosis and enhanced treatment – but it can’t take place without volunteers, so I encourage anyone eligible to sign up.”