Life-extending cancer drugs made available

CANCER patients in the Whitby area now have access to more life-extending drugs due to a new NHS initiative.

Between October 2010 and March 2011 176 patients from Yorkshire and the Humber region were given medication which was previously unavailable.

Patients 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.” It was announced last year that the NHS in Yorkshire and the Humber region would have £5.3m to spend between October 2010 and April 2011 on drugs that were previously regarded as not value for money by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).

The Department of Health has made £20m available to be spent over the coming year (April 2011 – April 2012) on life-prolonging cancer drugs. Some money is being held in the fund to pay for medicines for rarer cancers.