A bladder cancer survivor is calling on Southampton to support Race for Life next month after seeing first-hand how funds raised can help the city’s researchers find the best new cancer treatments.

Mark Venables, from Hamble, met with the team working on Cancer Research UK bladder cancer trial AURORA at the Southampton Clinical Trials Unit, to learn how money raised at the event is making a difference to people like him during Bladder Cancer Awareness Month.

The 67-year-old understands the importance of research more than most after successfully being treated for the disease in 2019, receiving emergency care for an unrelated pulmonary embolism in 2010 and recovering from a brain aneurysm in 2022.

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Mark said: “I know I’m very lucky to be here and remember the feeling of being told I had stage 2 bladder cancer. I took it really badly and emotionally it was really tough. Thankfully I had treatment options available to me and I’ve recovered well, but I know not everyone has that chance.

“Not so much is known about the rarer types of bladder cancer and so it’s incredibly important to keep funding the types of clinical trials I’ve seen happening right here in Southampton like the AURORA trial. Anything that can look further into them and develop good immunotherapy treatments is fantastic. I’m incredibly inspired and know that the fundraising really is worthwhile.”

Researchers are looking at whether an immunotherapy treatment could help patients with a rare and often incurable form of cancer of the urinary tract, funded by a CRUK grant of £814,000.

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Professor of experimental cancer therapeutics, Simon Crabb, chief investigator of the AURORA trial at the University of Southampton, said: “There are currently no effective treatments for UTSCC because it is so rare and very few clinical trials have been conducted into this type of cancer. This trial, made possible by Cancer Research UK supporters, will help us show whether immunotherapy could offer patients a treatment option in the future.”

The Southampton event takes place at The Common on June 22. The events are open to all ages and abilities and people can choose from the 3k, 5k and 10k events or take part in Pretty Muddy, a 5k mud-splattered obstacle course.

To enter, visit raceforlife.org