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Pontypool woman backs cannabis-based brain tumour treatment | South Wales Argus

Pontypool woman backs cannabis-based brain tumour treatment | South Wales Argus

Rhian Maloney’s husband Paddy passed away in May 2022 at the age of 58 after battling a fast-growing and aggressive brain tumour for 10 months.

The former physiotherapist had been diagnosed with a grade 4 glioblastoma in August 2021 after experiencing seizures.

Paddy underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which affected his memory, speech and awareness, but the treatment was unsuccessful.

The cannabis trial, which uses nabiximols alongside the standard chemotherapy, started in February and Laura is sharing her story to campaign for more treatment options for people diagnosed with brain tumours.

Rhian, 35, a trainee nurse, from Pontypool, said: “Paddy loved life, cake and our animals.

“Our home was full of happiness and laughter. He had a knack of making you believe anything was possible.

“He was funny, ambitious and hugely inspiring. Paddy shared his good humour and big smile with everyone he met.

Paddy Maloney with wife Rhian

“Paddy made a difference to the lives of so many people and his kindness and positivity will leave an enduring legacy.

“He held his head high until the end, showing what it looks like to live bravely. He even had treatment on our wedding day.”

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Before his diagnosis Paddy, who was originally from Cornwall and described by his wife as an “honorary Welshman”, experienced seizures which were the first sign something was wrong.

He was admitted to hospital where scans showed a five-centimetre brain tumour.

Rhian said: “It wasn’t uncommon for Paddy to suffer from headaches and fatigue.

“Looking back, it’s easier to spot the signs. The headaches became more frequent and harder to manage and Paddy used to joke about forgetting things.

“We put a lot of it down to his underlying health conditions and busy lifestyle.”

Paddy Maloney during his treatment

After Paddy’s diagnosis he had surgery at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff then returned home and continued treatment with temozolomide chemotherapy and radiotherapy at the Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff.

Paddy suffered from severe sickness and radiotherapy impacted his memory, speech and awareness.

He developed steroid-induced diabetes and it was the combination of steroids and chemotherapy that caused a fatal perforation in Paddy’s bowel which led to his death.

Rhian said: “I knew Paddy was terminally ill but nothing prepared me for the shock and depth of grief. He brought me so much joy and I miss him every day.

“There needs to be better education of the side effects and risks involved during chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

“Treatment had such a profound impact on Paddy’s quality of life in the last few months and they were ultimately fatal.

“Kinder treatment options would hugely benefit those affected by glioblastomas.”

Rhian and Paddy Maloney

Rhian is supporting a major UK trial of an oral spray containing cannabinoids, several structural classes of compounds found in cannabis, to treat the most aggressive brain tumours.

The trial, funded by the Brain Tumour Charity, will investigate whether combining nabiximols and chemotherapy can help extend the lives of people diagnosed with recurrent glioblastoma.

The three-year trial is led by Professor Susan Short at the University of Leeds and coordinated by the Cancer Research UK clinical trials unit at the University of Birmingham.

The trial will use nabiximols (containing THC and CBD) alongside the standard chemotherapy to assess whether it can extend life for those diagnosed with a recurrent glioblastoma.

The ground-breaking trial has just opened in Wales and has recruited its first patient.

Jillian McLean, consultant oncologist at Velindre Cancer Centre, said: “This is a really exciting trial that we’re delighted to be involved in and a great opportunity for brain tumour patients to potentially improve their quality of life and survival outcomes.

“Our research team has worked really hard to open this study here at Velindre Cancer Centre.

“We’ve recruited our first patient and I’m hoping there will be many more in the future.

“Survival of high-grade brain tumours is very limited despite intense and active research, so the opportunity for another treatment option will be extremely valuable to patients.”

This content was originally published here.