I suffer from ocular melanoma, a rare condition that is considered terminal once it metastasises to the liver. Historically, there have been no effective treatments for managing tumour growth and life expectancy has been very limited. I presented with liver metastasis in September 2013 and, after having an immediate TACE (Trans Arterial Chemoembolisation) to buy me time to line up my first Delcath treatment. I had my first procedure in December 2013, followed by my second in January 2014. They were very effective in clearing the liver of the tumour burden, which allowed me to start off a course of Ipilimumab and, subsequently, Pembrolizumab. As all the new immuno drugs seem to be most effective when the tumour burden is low, Delcath was instrumental in not only addressing the immediate threat but in providing the drugs with an opportunity to provide a more enduring benefit.
Following a potentially suspect presentation in early 2015 I had two further procedures in April and July 2015, to prevent any progression.
For such a major procedure that offers such invaluable potential to prolong life, the Delcath procedure allows for a surprisingly fast recovery and an excellent quality of life between procedures. The first couple of days immediately following the procedure can involve some discomfort but it is very manageable and within a week you can expect to be back to living a normal life.
Finally I must say that, if you are considering having a Delcath procedure, you can do no better than choose Southampton Spire for your care. The doctors and nursing staff are consistently outstanding. The surgeons, oncologists, interventional radiologists and the critical care consultants work seamlessly as a team to design a bespoke treatment plan to suit an individual patient’s condition. All hospitals seem to promise this approach but I have never seen it delivered anything like as effectively as by the team in Southampton. As with all complex procedures, experience counts and the team at Southampton have more experience of Delcath than anywhere else. The doctors are all experts in their field and they are also extremely approachable and patient in briefing patients on what they need to know, answering questions etc. The nursing staff and physiotherapists are exceptionally friendly, attentive and extremely professional. If and when I need any future Delcath procedures I wouldn’t consider having them anywhere else.