At age 35, Rhys had a lot to live for. He was a loving husband, a father of three young children and had a successful career as an anaesthetist. One morning Rhys drove himself to the emergency department with abdominal pain. He discovered he had stage four melanoma that had metastasised to his brain, lungs and abdomen.
The diagnosis came as a shock because he had no noticeable symptoms and the skin cancer showed no visible primary site, making self-detection impossible.
Having been told the median survival rate for someone presenting with the same symptoms was between three to four months, Rhys endured many surgeries and a series of radiotherapy treatments to try to control the disease.
Rhys was fortunate to be accepted into a clinical trial being run by his treating clinician – also Head of the Centenary Institute’s Melanoma Oncology and Immunology Program. Remarkably, the tumours began to shrink after four weeks. Though Rhys has needed additional treatment, he has great faith in medical research and the future development of new drugs to prolong his life further.