A man has thanked a dodgy steak pie for “saving his life” after a bout of food poisoning led to a rare kidney cancer diagnosis and a place on a clinical drugs trial.
William Dunnachie, 69, was admitted to Forth Valley hospital with suspected food poisoning after eating a steak pie supper from a local takeaway in his hometown of Falkirk.
As surgeons performed emergency surgery on his gallbladder – which can react to certain high-fat and processed foods – consultants spotted abnormalities on William’s kidney and he was subsequently diagnosed with cancer.
Following a referral, William was quickly operated on, and both the gallbladder and kidney were removed.
After surgery, the retired labourer jumped at the opportunity to be part in the clinical Keynote 564 trial for Pembrolizumab, a specially designed immune-stimulating drug which helps minimise the chances of kidney cancer recurring.
William was closely monitored, and now, nearly five years later, remains cancer free and still pays thanks to the steak pie that “saved his life”.
He said: “I just feel extremely lucky. If I hadn’t bought that steak pie, I might not be here today. You could say it helped save my life.
“But the team at The Beatson have been fantastic throughout my experience, and I was delighted to be able to give something back by participating in the trial.
“Now it’s been approved, it’s humbling to know it will help potentially thousands of people in the future.
“I’m just here to enjoy myself now and take everything day by day. While I’m thankful the cancer was spotted thanks to a steak pie, I’m not sure I’ll be eating anymore any time soon.”
Dr Balaji Venugopal said: “Many patients who have a cancerous kidney removed at surgery will be cured, but, in some, the cancer will recur, and it may spread to other parts of the body.
“The Keynote 564 trial has shown that patients who receive an immune-stimulating drug called pembrolizumab for a year after surgery have a significantly lower risk of recurrence.
“This is the first time an immune-stimulating drug has been shown to do this. A team of dedicated patients and staff at The Beatson took part in this trial, which was conducted all over the world, and the results of the trial are promising for our patients.
“It is exciting to note that Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has now approved pembrolizumab to be available to all patients in this situation in NHS Scotland.”