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New cancer drug approved after Plymouth trial

A Plymouth consultant is the first in Europe to prescribe a new alternative to chemotherapy for certain types of blood cancer.

Professor Simon Rule trialled the new drug, Imbruvica, at Derriford hospital.

It has now been approved for use across the NHS as part of the Cancer Drugs Fund.

We were the first people to use this drug in Europe here in Plymouth and we treated thirteen patients and the thing that struck us very early was that the patients all responded and there were no side effects and that's not something you expect, you normally expect to get effects with at least some side effects and these drugs really are remarkably side effect free.

– PROFESSOR SIMON RULE, Consultant Haematologist at Derriford Hospital/Plymouth University
Imbruvica was trialled at Derriford hospital.

Patients too embarrassed to discuss symptoms of bowel cancer

A government campaign to raise awareness about bowel cancer appears to have had little impact, according to a Plymouth based charity.

Bowel Cancer West carried out a survey across our region and found the embarrassment of talking about the issue appears to have got worse. Our Health Correspondent Jacquie Bird has been to meet one man in Kingsand in Cornwall, who's living proof of the need for early diagnosis.


Many people in region aren't aware of bowel cancer symptoms

Many people in region aren't aware of bowel cancer symptoms Credit: PA

A new survey indicates an alarming amount of ignorance about bowel cancer in the region. The report from Bowel Cancer West says nine out of ten adults they spoke to weren't aware of symptoms of the disease and were embarrassed to go the doctor. But early diagnosis is crucial to survival.

Neon Roberts making 'good progress' after treatment

Seven-year-old Neon Roberts is making "good progress" following his treatment, his father has said.

Late last year, Neon's mother Sally, failed in a legal bid to stop her son having radiotherapy for a brain tumour.

Sally Roberts, mother of Neon Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The High Court ruled that Neon should undergo radiotherapy for the cancerous tumour against her wishes.

Neon's father Ben - who is separated from Ms Roberts - said his son had completed the course of radiotherapy as planned.

Watch: 'Neon's care should be my choice'

Hospital wins innovation award for cancer database

System designer Rufus Smith after collecting the award from Rory Bremner (right) Credit: North Devon District Hospital

North Devon District Hospital has won a national award for innovation for its computerised cancer pharmacy system. It allows the hospital to log and follow all aspects of patients' chemotherapy treatment.

The time-saving, custom software then lets the hospital develop daily treatment schedules and worksheets to simply the types and amount of medication that need to be made up. It also manages stock control.

It was developed by Rufus Smith, a pharmacy expert at the hospital. The hospital trust says it has saved £20,000 by developing the software in-house, for free.


  1. National

Neon Roberts 'sharp as ever' after cancer surgery

Neon Roberts is "as sharp as ever" after his cancer surgery, which took place despite his mother's objections following a court ruling, reports the Daily Mail.

Neon Roberts has undergone surgery against the wishes of his mother following a judge's ruling. Credit: Handout

The seven-year-old's mother Sally Roberts wanted any operation on her son Neon delayed because she wanted opinions from doctors in Russia, Germany and the US but the Judge who assessed the evidence said the gains of going ahead with surgery outweighed the risks.

The Daily Mail reports that Neon woke up following the seven-hour procedure telling nurses: "I can still talk, you know."

Today Neon's mother will renew her fight at the High Court today over planned radiotherapy for her son. Ms Roberts claims the therapy will cause Neon long-term harm.

But doctors say he might die within months without it.

  1. West Country (E)

Text Santa: Marie Curie nurses care for terminally ill cancer patients and their families at home

Marie Curie Cancer Care is one of six charities to benefit from Text Santa - ITV's Christmas fundraiser. Marie Curie nurses help care for terminally ill patients in their homes, and offer emotional support to families. Catherine Le Roy is one such nurse.

For more information on Marie Curie Cancer Care click here

  1. National

High Court decision on radiotherapy delayed

Mr Justice Bodey ruled today that Neon Roberts can undergo surgery on a "residual tumour" but it is not yet clear whether he can receive radiotherapy.

The ruling in the Family Division of the High Court was due to decide whether Neon should undergo radiotherapy treatment following surgery, against the wishes of his mother.

That issue was put to one side to deal with the more pressing decision regarding his operation.

Cancer row mum says she doesn't trust doctors

A mother who disappeared with her young son to stop him being treated for cancer says she had no choice.

37-year-old Sally Roberts disappeared from her home in Tiverton with seven year old Neon because she was worried that radiotherapy would be damaging.

She says she needs more evidence that treatment is necessary and other options need to be explored. The case was heard at the High Court and a judge will make a decision next week. Sally spoke exclusively to Daybreak this morning. This is the full interview.

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