Vicky Phelan "hopeful" as she receives first results from new treatment
"I think I’m getting there."
Vicky Phelan has said she is feeling "hopeful" after receiving the first results after beginning new cervical cancer treatment in the States.
The CervicalCheck campaigner flew to the US earlier this year to begin a new treatment in Maryland after the Pembro drug stopped working for her.
This immunotherapy medical trial run involves receiving treatment, which Vicky calls "a better version of Pembro," every two weeks. Aside from some "rotten side effects" including vomiting, she has said that she has been feeling a lot better this week, and is "hopeful" that the new drug will work for her.
"I’m really good now this week, thank God," she told the Ray D'Arcy Show this week. "I’m quite positive and fairly hopeful that this is going to work for me.
"One of the things they’re looking at in my blood is my CA125 levels [...] When I started here in January my levels were 330 or more, and the normal level was less than 45.
"And already after just two treatments my levels have gone down to 104, so my doctor said that he’s hopeful that’s a good indicator that the level of cancer in my body is starting to go down, so that’s a good sign."
Vicky, who has been at the centre of the CervicalCheck scandal since 2018, added that if the treatment doesn't appear to be working, she will be taken off the trial and replaced with another patient.
A scan on March 23, she said, will give a good indicator as to whether her tumours have responded or not.
"If I have this scan on the 23rd and they see that here has been no change and my tumours are still either the same size or have grown, well that’s the end of that," she said.
"I literally will be taken off the trial that day pretty much because it costs so much to have patients on trials [...]If somebody’s not responding they literally will try and find somebody else."
This comes after Vicky reached a personal milestone this week as she celebrated her son Darragh's tenth birthday. Taking to Instagram, she wrote that reaching this day had been her goal since her Pembro treatment stopped working.
"I have reached my goal," she said. "Maybe not the way I would have liked. I tuned in on FaceTime for the birthday cake. That's me singing Happy Birthday off key. I would have given anything to be at home to celebrate Darragh's birthday.
"I have NEVER missed one of my children's birthdays BUT I want to be around for Darragh's 11th and 12th birthdays and that is only possible by making the sacrifice now - coming to the States to participate on the clinical trial that I am on."