Jarryd’s story

In May 2016, Jarryd received news that a melanoma on his lip – detected and removed in 2015 – had spread. Jarryd’s oncologist suggested that Jarryd consider a new immunotherapy treatment. Watch Jarryd's story.


[Jarryd Roughead]

My name's Jarryd Roughead. I live in Melbourne and I'm a Hawthorn footy club player for the last four years. In 2015, I was diagnosed with a melanoma on my lip. I had that cut out but then in 2016 it got into my bloodstream and it spread to my lungs where I had four tumours.

I was introduced to Grant McArthur, who was my oncologist and Donna Millen who was my nurse. They suggested a clinical trial. A 29 year old man, recently married. I guess you're willing to try anything because of the industry I’m in with footy, in our terms it was a rehab process. It was a bit of an unknown, but there'd been some positive signs early that this was a drug that was working.

With most trials, I guess there's going to be side effects and I had mine and the key was being open with my nurse and oncologist. The support was, was huge. Whether I'd had a small change or a big change with what was happening every day. As long as I was open with them, they could deal with what I was going through at any given time.

It's the building of the relationship. Both Donna and Grant came to my first footy game back. It is scary because of what we're dealing with. At the same time, we're now friends, which is great. I've had a complete response. Grant told me when I got the news that he expects me to be a granddad. When you hear words like that, it means much more than 120 minutes of footy every week. It means you’re around for hopefully the next 50- 60 years.

Anyone considering a trial is open as you can and receptive because this is something that the greatest doctors and nurses in Australia are offering you and the more that you can be willing to participate in the trial can only benefit you.

[Voice Narration]

Authorised by the Australian Government, Canberra.

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Jarryd Roughead is one of the AFL’s cult heroes and has carved a place amongst the competition’s elite. Captain of the Hawthorn Football Club since 2017, Jarryd’s career has been in the spotlight for more than 12 years.  

Drafted by Hawthorn in 2004, the agile forward has been celebrated as one of Australia’s most talented and loved footballers. In 2013 he was the recipient of the highly acclaimed Coleman Medal in 2013. 

In May 2016, Roughead received news that a melanoma on his lip – detected and removed in 2015 – had spread. A biopsy confirmed 4 small spots on Roughead's lungs were cancerous. 

Jarryd’s treating doctor (oncologist), Professor Grant McArthur from Peter MacCallum Centre, suggested that Jarryd consider a new immunotherapy treatment that had just completed testing on clinical trials.  

The clinical trial tested the effect of a combination of 2 immunotherapy drugs, Opdivo (nivolumab) and Yervoy (ipilimumab). 

Jarryd began treatment in June 2016 and by November 2016 was given the official all clear and declared cancer free (a complete response). 

The Australian Therapeutic Goods Association approved Opdivo following the 2017 clinical trial.

Jarryd successfully returned to football in 2017. 

With an endearing demeanour and a typically country character, Roughead has remained grounded throughout his AFL success. 

Through his health scare and resulting treatment, Jarryd gained an understanding of the importance and benefits of clinical trials.

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