1. ITV Report

Northampton man fights plans to cut cancer drug

Richard Bassett and his girlfriend Victoria have started an online campaign Photo: GIST Support UK

A man from Northampton is trying to prevent funding being stopped for a drug which could treat his rare cancer.

Richard Bassett has a type of cancer of the digestive system, called Wild Type GIST. His current medicine is keeping the tumours stable, but doctors say with time they could stop responding. The only other treatment would be a drug called Regorafenib, except it's one of 25 medicines coming off the Cancer Drugs Funding list from the 12th of March.

"If the drugs are there and the drugs work the prognosis is very good. I can lead a normal life, I can get on with things. But if the drugs aren't there that's it. It's palliative care... I'm sort of left, sort of been abandoned. It's not worth thinking about really."

– Richard Bassett - cancer patient

Regorafenib costs about £4500 per patient per month. It treats GIST cancers that have become unresponsive to the other available drugs.

Richard and his girlfriend Victoria have started an online campaign to try to stop it being removed from the NHS list. They need 100,000 signatures on a petition to trigger a discussion in Parliament. With retweets from celebrities, including Russell Brand, Lorraine Kelly and Kym Marsh, they've reached 35,000.

NHS England say the changes will save tens of millions of pounds, to be reinvested in other treatments.

“NHS cancer doctors have taken a careful independent look at how we ensure the drugs available offer the best clinical benefit, getting the most for patients from every pound. These are difficult decisions, but if we don’t prioritise the drugs that offer the best value, many people could miss out on promising, more effective treatments that are in the pipeline."

– Professor Peter Clark - Chair of the Cancer Drugs Fund

But Victoria says her own research shows cutting Regorafenib won't save much, and that they will do all they can to reverse the decision.

"29 patients last year were on Regorafenib in the UK. It's not a huge amount, that's not a huge saving and that number's not likely to increase because of the other two drugs and Regorafenib is the third line treatment."

– Victoria Janes - Richard's girlfriend

Click below to watch Olivia Paterson's report.