Life-extending cancer drugs now available

CANCER patients in Calderdale will have access to more life-extending drugs after a government grant.

NHS Yorkshire and Humber has been given £20m to spend from April 2011 to April 2012 on life-prolonging cancer drugs across the region.

The strategic health authority was given an interim grant of £5.3m for between October 2010 and March 2011 to spend on drugs.

The cash was announced to spend on drugs that were previously regarded as not value for money by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). They are in addition to drugs which are already available.

During that period 176 people were given the drugs cross the region.

Drugs prescribed included Cetuximab for colorectal cancer, Lapatinib for breast cancer and Everolimus for urology cancer.

Patients are being advised they can now access these drugs by speaking to their cancer clinician.

NHS Yorkshire and the Humber’s medical director, Professor Chris Welsh, said: “The cancer drug fund has enabled us to draw up a list of those treatments which were previously unavailable and patients are now benefiting from them.

“These drugs do not offer a cure for cancer but what they do give is valuable time for patients to spend with their loved ones.

“Patients who think they may benefit should speak to their cancer clinician.”