"I find it extraordinary – if not outrageous - that so few ocular melanoma patients know about Southampton. Given my experience as a patient, I think every single ocular melanoma patient should be referred to Southampton or at least made aware of the techniques, treatments, expertise and sheer experience of the Southampton team compared to any other centre in the UK, and, in the case of Dr. Brian Stedman’s groundbreaking Delcath chemosaturation treatment; in the world.
From my extensive experience as an ocular melanoma patient – and trust me, I’ve done my research - there simply is no other centre with a cross disciplinary team like Southampton’s. Each member is pioneering in his own field – from Dr. Arjun Takhar’s resection techniques, Professor Ottensmeier and Dr. Matthew Wheater’s ground-breaking oncology research into experimental medicine making them world experts in ocular melanoma, to Dr. Brian Stedman’s Delcath chemosaturation procedure. Working closely together and thanks to their weekly Ocular Melanoma MDT meetings, they offer their combined expertise and options to patients; carefully creating treatment pathways tailor made to fit each case.
What is even more incredible is how kind and caring and considerate all these medical stars are. Despite frantically busy timetables, they have sat down with me and talked everything through, slowly, in as much depth as I wished and always with complete honesty.
Of particular note, of course, is the chemosaturation technique which has been pioneered by the brilliant Dr. Brian Stedman, who really should be awarded some kind of medical or state honours. I cannot thank Brian enough. I was told by London’s Royal Marsden Hospital that I would be dead by now. But thanks to Brian’s insistence that he could do something to help and then to his flawless chemosaturation operations, here I am writing this review after a lovely summer holiday, swimming for hours every day, and happily spending time with my family. All this is thanks to Brian and the two amazingly diligent and experienced anaesthetists with whom he works, Dr. Jon Fennel and Dr. Sanjev Gupta.
So to me it is an outrage that not every single ocular melanoma patient is referred or at least made aware of the expertise and treatments that the Southampton team offer. I am alive because of Southampton; not even in pain. Sadly, with metastatic ocular melanoma, it is not a question of if, but when. Southampton help me to fight with every atom of my body, to make that ‘When’ a far-off consideration. How can I express gratitude for that?" - Interventional Oncology Patient, Southampton