It happened to me: Mike Solomon
Targeted treatment has improved my quality of life, so I do whatever I can to support new research
Mike Solomon, 50, lung cancer patient
I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in March 2016 and underwent surgery before being transferred to The Royal Marsden for chemotherapy treatment.
A biopsy revealed that I had non-small-cell lung cancer with a mutation in the EGFR gene. By matching the genetic mutation with a combination of therapies that were most effective for me, the doctors were able to create a personalised treatment plan.
But the drug stopped working in May 2017, when a reanalysis of my tumour showed there was a new mutation in the EGFR gene, called T790M. So I was given a different targeted therapy.
The treatment is fantastic because it means I can lead as ordinary a life as possible with my wife Hilary and our son and daughter. I’m living with this disease but I can do most things – such as playing the drums in my band and continuing to work in the NHS as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist – and the side effects are manageable.
I’m benefiting from previous genetic research that was carried out at The Royal Marsden
I’m benefiting from previous research carried out at The Royal Marsden into these genetic mutations, so I want to do whatever I can to support future research.
When I got told I had cancer, I thought ‘what can I do?’ because there was so much that was out of my control. I looked at changing my diet and doing more exercise to keep my lungs in good shape.
In September 2016, six months after surgery, I took part in a triathlon sprint relay with my two brothers, Neil and Paul, and together we raised £28,500 for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.
And this September, to raise even more money for the charity, I did Swim Serpentine – a one- mile open-water swim in Hyde Park. I’ve always enjoyed swimming, but open water was completely different to being in a pool. You can’t see where you’re going and it’s freezing.
My wife thinks I’m nuts, but she’s proud of everything I’ve achieved over the last 18 months. We are both very grateful to The Royal Marsden for the pioneering treatment that I’m getting.