The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has said it is not recommending the use of Avastin (also known as bevacizumab) as an NHS treatment for breast cancer, as it is more costly and less effective than other drugs.
Alka Welinkar was prescribed Avastin for two and a half years, although in a different combination from the one that is no longer recommended. She says she trusted her doctors to give her the best treatment available at the time and the drug saved her life. Changes from decisions like this lead to more anxiety and worry for cancer patients.
Around 800 women in the UK will be affected by the decision. Last year the Food and Drug Administration withdrew approval for Avastin in the United States, after clinical trials had shown the drug was not helping breast cancer patients to live longer, and resulted in serious side effects.
Cancer charities say the decision is disappointing, and options for women with advanced breast cancer are limited. They agree the drug is expensive, but say doctors can still apply for their patients to receive it in exceptional cases.