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Cancer patients' anger that pioneering drug won't be funded

There's condemnation from Cancer Charities that a drug which can extend the lives of some women with advanced breast cancer has been rejected for NHS use because it is too expensive.

Kadcyla has shown remarkable success in trials at The Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, and a woman from Reading says it's extended her life by three years.

But it costs 90 thousand pounds for a course of treatment, too much for the NHS financial watchdog, NICE, which made the decision. It has criticised the manufacturers for the high cost.

Rachel Hepworth speaks to cancer survivors Manjinder Coulter and Kimberly Mawby, Chief Exec of NICE, Andrew Dillon, Sarah Rawlings from the charity Breakthrough Cancer, and Jennifer Cozzone from pharmaceutical company Roche.

Breast cancer drug 'too expensive' for NHS

A drug that can extend the lives of some women with an advanced form of breast cancer has been rejected for NHS use because it is too expensive.

The high price of Kadcyla makes it "impossible" to recommend for widespread use in the health service, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) said.

The drug, also known as trastuzumab emtansine, is used to treat breast cancer patients with HER2-positive breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. It is used when the cancer cannot be surgically removed and the patient has stopped responding to initial treatments.

It can offer these women a last hope, extending the lives of patients by around six months.

But final draft guidance from Nice says that the drug, which costs around £90,000 per patient at its full price, it too expensive to recommend for widespread use in the health service.


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Breast cancer patient: £90,000 drug changed my life

A patient using the breast cancer drug Kadcyla, which could be blocked from routine NHS access because it is too expensive, told ITV News the treatment had improved her quality of life.

"I was in quite a bad state, and within about two cycles my life felt like it had turned a corner. I was able to do things I wasn't able to do prior to being on this treatment," Mani said of the drug, which currently costs around £90,000 per patient.

Breast cancer drug that can prolong lives turned down

A drug that was trialled in Portsmouth and can prolong the lives of breast cancer sufferers by nearly six months has been refused by the NHS because of costs.The Herceptin type drug was trialled in Portsmouth but can cost up to £90,000 per patient.

We speak to National Institute for Health and Care Excellence's Andrew Dillion about the new drug and what he thinks about the NHS' decision to refuse the expensive treatment.

The watchdog, which decides which new medicines are cost effective, said its guidance for Kadcyla, manufactured by Roche, or trastuzumab emtansine, was in draft form and is now up for public consultation.

Meanwhile patients will be able to apply to their local NHS and to the Cancer Drugs Fund.

Speech therapists turn their advice into a book

The Spires Speech and Language Therapy Team who have put together the handbook Credit: NHS

The speech therapy team from Salisbury District Hospital have written up their years of experience and knowledge into a handbook for families across the country.

The book draws on expert knowledge and provides advice for families and teachers on how to help their child with cleft lip and palate speech disorders.

Speech therapist Ginette Phippen, the brainchild behind the book, said: “The regional Spires Cleft Centre based in Salisbury and Oxford is one of 10 specialist centres in the country.

"The centre provides specialist treatment to around 100 new babies a year and overtime we’ve built up a wide range of knowledge which has informed clinical practice across the country.

"The aim of the book was to pool all our experience and expertise with best practice from other centres across the country and collate this in one easy-to-use handbook.”


Woman who killed herself had been called 'attention seeker' by health worker

Video report. The mother of a student who killed herself after mental health services decided not to assess her mental state says she is going to sue the health authority.

Hannah Groves was just 20 when she took her own life. She had asked for treatment at a specialist centre in Southampton - but was told she was not at risk.

When police later arrested the student for her own safety, they were told by a health worker she was a 'waste of time' and an 'attention seeker'. Richard Slee reports

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