A man from Dundee with stage four brain cancer has spoken about his hope of a new treatment plan after doctors told him he may have just six months to live.
Neil Matheson, 36, was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer in June 2018 after suffering intense headaches that left him feeling as though someone was tasering his brain.
Surgery managed to remove the tumour and Neil has since had several rounds of chemotherapy to help try and tackle the disease.
Before lockdown Neil, from Whitfield, was told his current treatment wasn’t working and doctors were going to apply for a new treatment to be used.
However with the arrival of Covid-19, Neil had to make the choice whether to go onto the treatment and risk catching the virus or to withhold treatment until the pandemic calmed down.
A scan in May also showed that his cancer had moved to the back of his brain.
Neil was given a final round of chemo starting in August, however, at a recent clinic appointment in September, he was told that treatment was no longer working and that doctors would be stopping.
He was also told the new treatment doctors had applied for earlier in the year, which he chose not to do, may not have worked either.
Neil said: “I’ve been pretty much shielding 24/7, just sitting at home all day every day, trying to do home exercises to keep myself fit.
“My cancer has moved to the back of my brain and it has now affected my vision where basically I’m blind on the left side of both my eyes. My peripheral vision has started to go but the doctors say that’s about as worse as it will get.
“With my peripheral vision now I am always bumping into the sides of my walls in my house. I’m walking down the corridor hitting a wall with every step I take basically and radiators too, I’m always kicking them with my toes so they are always bruised.
“I started noticing my headaches were coming back so they started giving me maintenance steroids to keep my headaches at bay but the cancer just kept getting worse.
“If the cancer grows the same like it did before, it is in my best interests I make myself as comfortable as possible. I’ve got about six months.”
Neil is currently waiting to find out whether he will be eligible for a new treatment trial in London which his wife Emoke discovered via Facebook.
Neil said: “It’s called Care Oncology clinic. From what I have heard it’s all natural remedies that they have been experimenting with so it will be nice to be on something natural rather than having chemicals pumped into my body.
“I am actually looking quite forward to this treatment, it has had a lot of good reviews from other cancer patients saying that it has been successful in pushing their cancer back. It’s a last grasp of life, a last reach for more life time with my family.”
Neil has to go for blood tests every four weeks so doctors can keep an eye on his blood counts to make sure he is eligible for treatments.
“I’m quite a down to reality sort of guy so when I was told in 2018 that I basically had 12 months to live then, that was a bit of a shocker,” Neil said.
“They said I had 10% chance to live up to five years, so that would be about three years from now.
“It was kind of in the range they suggested when I first got diagnosed, so I was sort of always expecting this to happen, so I’ve been preparing it in my head.
“The only thing you can’t prepare for is how your family is going to feel. I’ve got a five-year-old daughter, that’s my biggest worry and concern.
“I took on Promise Life, funeral insurance and so made sure they are all covered before I go.”
To donate to Neil’s fundraiser, visit gofundme and search for Neil Matheson.