A former NRL star has turned to Mexico after his cancer began to spread.
The former St George Illawarra Dragons and Cronulla Sharks player, James Walsh, was diagnosed with stage three melanoma in 2009 after his doctor found a swollen lymph node in his groin.
He was told he only had a 50 per cent chance of survival.
Mr Walsh had surgery as soon as possible and was in remission.
However in 2012 he was diagnosed yet again.
Earlier this year scans showed that Mr Walsh’s cancer had appeared in places it wasn’t previously.
And so his children, Kate and Nathan, started a crowdfunding page for their father to look into alternative treatments.
On the page Mr Walsh’s children wrote: ‘It has been an incredible journey of highs and lows over the past nine years and through it all dad has remained committed to his health and been an inspiration to both myself, Nathan and many others in his life.
‘Anyone who knows James would know he is an extremely passionate, loving and caring man, he will do anything to help others and he has so much more to contribute to those around him.’
In the end Mr Walsh turned to a treatment centre in Mexico where he went six times a week.
The clinic does not use medical immunotherapies like keytruda and opdivo.
These immunotherapies only have a 34 per cent success rate and can have harsh side effects, something Mr Walsh wanted to avoid.
Mr Walsh uploaded a series of videos to YouTube while he was at St Andrews Clinic in Tijuana.
Mr Walsh said his treatment was ‘two fold’ – a combination of immunotherapy and helping his immune system with what is going on inside his body.
He described his progress as ‘steady’.
‘And when I say steady I mean a decrease in pain and I have had improvement in body position, for examples, just simple things like lying on my side and back – just general mobility.
‘I just want to make it clear I am very grateful to all the people who have helped me get here. I think as someone who wants to do something like this I do think you have to have a fair bit of drive.
‘But that drive can only be realised through the generosity of people – not only financial by emotional genorosity and undivided support.
‘It is so great to be getting this treatment and it is so great to be feeling better.’
He said that one day he woke up without any pain and felt ‘normal’.
Mr Walsh was at St Andrews for five weeks in total and he said in his last update that there had been ‘significant changes in his body’.
His cancer decreased by 60 per cent.
Despite the fact St Andrews services, which include low-dose chemotherapy and insulin potentiated therapies, are offered throughout Mexico the Australian Department of Health won’t recognise the validity.
Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy told 9news.com.au: ‘This is not offered in Australia because it is not a proven effective treatment for cancer.’
Mr Walsh’s stay cost him $45,000 – and he wants to go back.
‘Things aren’t cheap
‘I guess in Australia we are a little bit spoiled because everything – a lot of it – we get for free and we don’t even question it.
‘Unfortunately when you come to a independent environment you have to pay for what you get.
‘I think it has been worth every single penny.’
Mr Walsh arrived back in Sydney this week. He has some treatments to continue with and will be able to monitor how things are going.
He needs to return in four to six weeks for his treatment to be effective, Mr Walsh told the publication.