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Cancer survivor hails news that treatment is to be extended
A CANCER sufferer has hailed the news that a drugs fund is to be extended to give patients access to life-saving treatments.
Vicki Sidlow, of Burton-in-Kendal, was diagnosed with ‘advanced’ bowel cancer in 2012 but is now free from the disease thanks to the Cancer Drugs Fund, which allows cancer patients access to medicines unavailable on the NHS.
“When I was first diagnosed I was told the average survival rate was between 11 and 22 months,” she said.
“I’m 11 months down the road and a CT scan has just shown I’m clear.
“Who knows where I might be at if I’d not had access to the drugs.”
The 48-year-old was diagnosed by chance following a hysterectomy when doctors found tumours in her ovary which had originated from a bowel tumour. The cancer had also spread to her liver.
Originally she was told that her condition was inoperable, but she started on chemotherapy alongside a treatment called Avastin at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.
Thanks to the treatment Mrs Sidlow’s tumours shrank by half within three months and she was able to undergo successful operations on both her liver and bowel earlier this year. The ex-nurse was also able to walk down the aisle in June.
“I just thought it’s typical I meet my soulmate and then get diagnosed with cancer,” she laughed.
“But knowing the drugs fund has been extended gives me great peace of mind. It’s like a back-up, that if the cancer comes back – which is likely – I could be treated successfully again.
“It would be criminal not to give people like me these drugs when they’ve been proven to work.”
The Cancer Drugs Fund was set up in 2011 to help patients in England access certain drugs before they get approval for widespread NHS use. The scheme was set to end next year, but Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged £400m to keep it running until 2016.
Mark Flannagan, chief executive of the charity Beating Bowel Cancer, which has supported Mrs Sidlow throughout her treatment, said: “The existence of the Cancer Drugs Fund has been a game-changer in the treatment of cancer patients.
“The extension to 2016 will ensure that people continue to access treatments that help them live a longer and better life.”
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