Irish Cancer Society Liam Mc Trial Launched at Cork University Hospital

16 Jun 2022
Some of the UCC and CUH trials team at the launch of the Liam Mc Trial at Cork University Hospital

A new €300,000 Irish Cancer Society research project based at Cork University Hospital (CUH) and supported by the UCC Cancer Trials Group will trial new methods to help make crucial improvements to quality of life for men facing devastating cancer diagnoses.

When a man has cancer, attention immediately turns to providing life-saving treatment, but issues arising from their treatment can often be hugely detrimental for their actual quality of life – issues like weight gain, muscle loss, continence problems and erectile dysfunction. For the first time in Ireland, the Irish Cancer Society Liam Mc Trial will see men routinely linked into a range of supports in a hospital setting that can help them live their lives to the fullest throughout their diagnosis. The trial's name is short for ‘Linking In with Advice and supports for Men impacted by Metastatic Cancer’, and is also a nod to famous Cork hurler Liam McCarthy.

A 12-week programme developed as part of the Liam Mc Trial will see initial groups of selected participants with an advanced cancer diagnosis receive dedicated help from a range of hospital-based specialists, including everything from physiotherapy and psychology to dieticians and nursing. The programme is specifically tailored to the needs of common male cancers such as prostate, testicular and bladder cancer, with input from patients key to its design. Its various components will cater for the psychological, emotional and physical needs of men affected.

Based out of the state-of-the-art cardio rehab gym at Cork University Hospital, the project will be supported by the UCC Cancer Trials Group and overseen by a team of researchers from UCC and CUH under the direction of Cancer Research @UCC's Investigator Dr Richard Bambury (Senior Clinical Lecturer, UCC and Consultant Medical Oncologist, CUH) and Lecturer Practitioner in Nursing Dr Brendan Noonan.

Participating men will receive an assessment at the beginning of the 12-week programme, at the halfway point once they have begun receiving supports, and again at the end of the 12 weeks. They will be followed up with after six months to measure overall improvements in quality of life, with the aim of creating a new standard of care for such patients that can be repeated around the country.

Martin O’Sullivan (65) from Cork, who lives with advanced prostate cancer, was among the patients consulted in the trial’s design, having himself experienced some of the issues it seeks to address:

“I’ve had surgeries to remove my prostate and a portion of my lung since first being diagnosed in 2018, and while I have been fortunate to stay active it does take its toll. I feel privileged to be able to share what I have experienced, found and felt so far in my journey with the team behind the trial in the hope of making life better for more patients in future,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

Commenting on the launch of the Liam Mc Trial, Dr Richard Bambury said: “We are delighted to open this hugely important trial with the support of the Irish Cancer Society that will investigate the role of a targeted 12-week personalised programme for men impacted by metastatic cancer, focusing on a predominately underserved and underrepresented patient group in this setting. 

“Building on the success of the LYSA trial in Cork, investigating women's survivorship strategies, this study is aimed at men who are survivors of cancer. These men will receive dedicated interventions and supports from a multidisciplinary team, including physiotherapy, dietician, nursing, psychological, emotional and medical inputs, with the ultimate aim of improving their quality of life.”

Irish Cancer Society Research Manager Claire Kilty said: “When men are diagnosed with cancer there is naturally an immediate focus on making sure they survive, but the quality of life from that point on is also incredibly important for men. We hope this new model will support them to live full and fulfilling lives that are so integral to personal wellbeing.

“The Liam Mc Trial is further strong evidence of the Irish Cancer Society’s dedication to ensuring those affected by cancer are support to live well with and beyond their diagnosis, as well as of a flourishing cancer research culture in the south of the country which we are proud to be able to support through the generosity of the public who fund us.”

Cancer Research @UCC

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