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Case study: Cheshire grandfather takes part in research and encourages others to do the same

76 year old takes part in study at Macclesfield District General Hospital.

Retired bus driver Ronnie Wood, a grandfather from Congleton in Cheshire talks about his experience on a research study and why he would urge others to get involved too.

The 76-year-old lives with his wife Angela and between them they have five children. Ronnie spent a number of years as a bus driver in London having started his career at the age of 18 working as a boiler cleaner at a power station in Woolwich, before working as a minibus driver to help people get around in the local community, a job which he still does now.

An active person for most of his life, Ronnie did physical labour when he was younger and had a healthy diet, so it was a shock when he had a heart attack in 2022, before routine tests from doctors discovered he had Mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining that covers the outer surface of many organs in the body and in Ronnie’s case his lungs. It can cause fluid to develop around the lungs, causing compression of the organs and breathlessness.  

He was receiving diagnostic tests at Macclesfield Hospital when Dr Thaps Nagarajan, mentioned the TACTIC study to him.

The study aims to determine the best way of managing fluid build-up caused by cancer. The current method is a procedure called a thoracoscopy to drain the fluid away with talc pleurodesis to ‘dry up’ or stop the fluid from returning. In around 25% of patients, the fluid can return despite this procedure. If this happens a catheter can be put in place and it can remain there for as long as required so that patients can have the fluid drained away at home, without any needles.

This study combines a thoracoscopy and talc pleurodesis with an IPC insertion in the same procedure and aims to find out if this is better for patients in terms of their breathing control and the overall time spent in hospital.

Ronnie was pleased to be asked to take part in the TACTIC study at Macclesfield and so far, has had three lots of treatments at Wythenshawe Hospital which has made him feel much more comfortable. 

Ronnie said: “The staff at the hospital are so caring and understanding and I get the very best treatment. I would advise anyone to go on a research study, I think that anything you can do to improve yourself and others, you’ve got to go for it.”

Dr Thapas Nagarajan added: “Ronnie is a great example of how research can improve a patient's quality of life, even with a life-changing diagnosis.  As a result of both the trial and treatment he received at Wythenshawe Hospital, Ronnie has been doing very well. 

“It's so important for healthcare professionals, patients and their relatives to get involved in research if offered the opportunity.  That way we can advance healthcare for future generations and preserve the quality of our NHS.”