Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Boost for family of man in cancer fight

Boost for family of man in cancer fight

THE family of a man fighting cancer say they are feeling positive going into the New Year.

Nick Dipper, 52, from Highmoor, was told last month that he is tumour- free following surgery and immunotherapy treatment.

He and his wife Lisa have now also received the results of tests showing how many tumour cells are circulating in his blood.

The couple have been told that the count represents a patient with early stage cancer rather than an advanced form of the disease.

Mr Dipper, the father of five-year-old twin boys, Ely and Ezra, was first diagnosed in 2018 and underwent treatment which cost more than £140,000 as the NHS could not provide it.

He was given the all-clear last year but then learned in July that he had a new tumour.

He underwent 11 hours of surgery on his lymph nodes in August followed by immunotherapy treatment in Stuttgart in September.

Mrs Dipper launched an appeal to raise £90,000 for more treatment. So far she has raised more than £37,000 and an anonymous benefactor has agreed to match-fund the donations.

The latest tests have also revealed the results of important prognostic markers for cancer.

Of four key markers, Mr Dipper’s sample tested positive for one of these, very weakly positive for another, while he was negative for the remaining two.

One of these was the metastatic marker, which shows whether the cancer is likely to spread or not.

Mrs Dipper said: “Whatever we’re doing, we must be doing something right and we need to keep doing it because we’re not quite out of the woods yet.

“We have still got cells. It needs to be down to zero but what a Christmas present. We’re going in the right direction and if it’s the last thing I do I’ll get him bloody clear of this.

“The doctor that interpreted the results for us from Greece was very pleased for somebody with metastatic cancer.

“From day one they [doctors] have been saying Nick has produced some remarkable results.

“He just keeps bouncing back like a trooper and he’s amazing everybody. The phone call that we had to get the results was very, very uplifting for us as a family. We were absolutely ecstatic. It’s hard living from scan to scan with nothing in between... but this was an extra boost that we’re headed in the right direction.

“Although the cancer’s still there, it’s very reassuring the markers are so low and it’s reassuring that what we’re doing is working.

“We have enjoyed lockdown as a family. It has been our time together and we have made the most of it. It’s a blessing that we have all had so much time together.

“We will go into 2021 with the attitude ‘whatever will be, will be’. It’s nice to be able to go into it thinking, ‘we have got hope again, we’re on the right track and we have got options’.

“It’s a much different feeling to ‘is this the last Christmas for Nick?’ Of course that’s still in the back of his mind because things could turn at any point but we’re quite positive at the moment. We’re giving everything we can.”

Mrs Dipper said the family would like to repeat the test in three months’ time to see how her husband has progressed.

Mr Dipper’s immunotherapy treatment at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading will come to an end in March.

His family are continuing to raise money for him to have more sessions of another form of immunotherapy and a vaccine in Germany and he will return next month for his latest course.

Mr Dipper, a project manager, could be offered a clinical trial in this country if another tumour appears.

He was originally diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma, where malignant cells form in the tissues of the upper part of the pharynx.

He then learned it had spread to his bones, lung and liver and was given a year to live.

His wife looked into alternative treatments and was recommended immunotherapy by an oncologist friend.

However, the couple then discovered that the NHS was only licensed to offer it up as far as the mouth and that they would have to go privately.

To make a donation, visit www.gofundme.com/f/team-dipper-needs-you

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