ALL-IRELAND winning Cork hurling captain Mark Landers has launch a new €300,000 Irish Cancer Society research trial.
The Killeagh native and popular podcaster with theled the Rebels to a memorable success in 1999 over Kilkenny and lent his support to the project aimed at helping make crucial improvements to quality of life for men facing devastating cancer diagnoses.
Known as the Irish Cancer Society Liam Mc Trial, short for ‘Linking In with Advice and supports for Men impacted by Metastatic Cancer’, the name is also a nod to Corkman Liam MacCarthy whose name is borne by the All-Ireland hurling trophy famously lifted by Landers in '99.
It's an issue that's close to his heart.
"So right now where we have new trials to improve care for patients, I'm very proud to get behind such an important effort," said Landers.
"My mother Rita passed away from metastatic liver cancer and did everything she could to extend her life as long as possible. All her family and relatives rowed in behind to support her after her diagnosis, and offering help in this way really brought us closer as a family, so it shows the importance of such support for patients."
When a man has cancer attention immediately turns to providing life-saving treatment, but all too often issues arising from their treatment can 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, this project 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.
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, it will be supported by the UCC Cancer Trials Group and overseen by a team of researchers from University College Cork and CUH under the direction of Consultant Medical Oncologist Dr Richard Bambury, 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 replicated nationwide.
Martin O’Sullivan (65) from Cork who lives with advanced prostate cancer was among the patients consulted in the trial’s design.
“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.”