Patient story - Phil Shakesheff

Phil in remission thanks to ground-breaking cancer treatment

Phil Shakesheff is living testament to the experience of the 21st century approach to dealing with cancer. Thanks to ground-breaking treatment, Phil is now in remission and feeling better every day.

Originally from Newport in south Wales, 69-year-old Phil first appeared in East Kent Hospitals’ ‘Your Hospitals’ magazine, when he described how a malignant melanoma (skin cancer) moved to other parts of his body, including his lungs.

Phil, who now lives in Faversham, was naturally worried about the future, but now celebrating his being in remission, he says: “It’s unbelievable – it’s really a miracle.”

He added: “I was told in January that there was an option for me to receive immunotherapy, and be treated at the William Harvey Hospital or Kent and Canterbury Hospital, rather than at one of the London hospitals.”

Immunotherapy is a way of tackling cancer that ‘wakes up’ a patient’s own immune system, enabling the body to remove cancer cells. It’s sometimes also called ‘biological therapy’.

Phil was given two immunotherapy drugs - Nivolumab and Ipilimumab. This combination can be used for advanced skins cancer that Phil was originally diagnosed with.

Phil said: “The treatment started in January, and I was also put on a course of steroids too, for two months. In June I was told that the cancer was in remission.

“I had one or two minor side-effects, as you’d expect, such as a minor eye inflammation and fatigue, but apart from that, I’ve been fine.”

Now describing himself as “fighting fit”, Phil has nothing but praise for the treatment that he’s received from East Kent Hospitals.

“I’ve had fantastic treatment,” he said, “and the care that I’ve received has been amazing.” 

For more information about immunotherapy, visit the website of Cancer Research UK at www.cancerresearchuk.org

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) approved Nivolumab for use with Ipilimumab in 2016. Patients with advanced melanoma in England and Wales are among the first in Europe to receive the treatment.

 "the care that I’ve received has been amazing.”