Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

Breast cancer drug rejected for NHS use on cost-benefit grounds

Charities angered by guidance on Kadcyla, which costs £90,000 per year per patient and gives extra nine months on average

A breast cancer drug that costs £90,000 a year per patient has been turned down for use by the NHS on financial grounds, triggering an outcry from patients groups who say it prolongs the lives of people seriously ill with the disease.

Kadcyla, made by Roche Pharmaceuticals, was rejected by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. It has the highest price tag ever for a cancer medicine and was turned down because its benefits did not justify its cost, Nice said.

Prof Carole Longson, director of the centre for health technology evaluation at Nice, said: “We know that people with cancer place great importance on drugs that can increase their life expectancy. For that reason we apply as much flexibility as we can when we look at new life-extending treatments.

Click on the link to read more

Click on the link to sign the petition Breast Cancer Now launches urgent petition following NICE decision to reject Kadcyla for routine use on the NHS


Filed under: Cancer, ,

Heartache as mother-of-three, 31, dies just weeks after being refused funding for a cancer drug because her disease wasn’t ‘exceptional enough’

  • Sarah Summers was diagnosed with breast cancer in May last year 
  • She underwent 18 weeks of chemotherapy and had began to recover 
  • However, in April doctors revealed it had returned and spread to her lungs
  • Experts advised her to seek funding for Kadcyla – a life-extending drug
  • But her local health board rejected her appeal and she died weeks later

A mother-of-three has died just weeks after being told her cancer wasn’t ‘exceptional enough’ for a life-prolonging drug.

Sarah Summers, 31, was diagnosed with breast cancer in May last year after finding a lump. She underwent 18 weeks of chemotherapy and had began to recover – but was told at the start of this year that she had a genetic mutation leaving her at high risk of further tumours.

In April, doctors confirmed the worst and revealed her cancer had returned and had even spread to her lungs. Experts advised her to seek funding for a drug called Kadcyla but her local health board rejected her appeal. Her health continued to deteriorate and she developed fluid on her lungs and pneumonia before losing her battle at the start of September.

Her husband Michael Poole, 31, from Treherbert in the Rhondda, said: ‘We were lost for words. Sarah’s oncologist herself could not understand how she was not judged to be clinically exceptional.

Click on the link to read more


Sarah Summers, 31, from Treherbert in the Rhondda, died just weeks after being denied funding for a life-saving breast cancer drug due to not being ‘exceptional enough’

Filed under: Cancer,

Mum with breast cancer urges women to trust their instincts – Doctors told her not to worry

Kirsten Chisholm with Ashley


JUST eight short months ago, she couldn’t have been happier as she became a mum for the second time.

But by the end of last year, Kirsten Chisholm’s mood had turned after she discovered a lump on her breast. It was painless and doctors told her not to worry – but as a trained medic herself, the 28-year-old nurse knew deep down that something was wrong. Given that breast cancer is uncommon in her age group, she had to wait almost three months to see a specialist.

That meant it was March before she was given the devastating diagnosis, not only confirming her worst fears but revealing that the disease had already spread to her lymph nodes. Kirsten, who works at the Sick Kids, is now preparing to undergo a mastectomy and faces gruelling treatment.

And today she warned other young women who recognise her story to follow their instinct if they feel something isn’t right

Click on the link to read more

Filed under: Cancer, ,

Jo Taylor – abc After Breast Cancer Diagnosis – Speaks on BBC North West

Researchers in Manchester have discovered a new way of treating a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer, which in some cases has seen tumours disappear in just 11 days.

Jo Taylor is interviewed by BBC North West at a Cancer conference in Trafford, she is currently about to go through her 3rd round of chemotherapy. She is also the founder of the website: abc After Breast Cancer Diagnosis  bringing an awareness and support to breast cancer sufferers providing news and information from the UK and around the world

Click on the link to watch the interview


Jo Taylor

Filed under: Cancer,

Breast Cancer Trial Kills Tumours In 11 Days

Using Herceptin together with another powerful breast cancer drug before surgery could shrink or destroy tumours in just 11 days, a study has found.

Around a quarter of women given a combined treatment of drugs in a clinical study saw their tumours shrink or disappear. Some patients may be spared chemotherapy if they are given a combination of the drugs Tyverb (lapatinib) and Herceptin (trastuzumab) immediately after diagnosis, according to the research by a team of British doctors.

The medics, who presented their study to experts at the European Breast Cancer Conference in Amsterdam, said their findings had “groundbreaking potential”. Some 257 women with an aggressive form of cancer – HER2 – were involved in the clinical trial and either received no treatment, one of the drugs or a combination of them.

Around a quarter of the women on the combined treatment saw their tumours shrink or disappear.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Cancer, ,

Thousands of breast cancer deaths could be prevented by drug that prevent bone thinning

  • 50,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed by doctors each year
  • Scientists find bone thinning drugs could prevent 1,300 deaths a year
  • The 5p pill slashes risk of cancer spreading to bone by 28 per cent
  •  Also, reduces the likelihood of the disease returning by 14 per cent 

Pills costing just 5p a day could save the lives of thousands of breast cancer sufferers, according to research. Drugs used to prevent bone thinning slash the risk of dying from tumours by 20 per cent, researchers found.  They say that if the pills – called bisphosphonates – were routinely given to women with breast cancer they would prevent 1,300 deaths a year and ‘several thousands’ within a decade. But campaigners say there is a danger the drugs will remain ‘sitting on the shelf’ in chemists because NHS red tape prevents doctors from routinely prescribing them for breast cancer.

Bisphosphonates are currently only ‘licensed’ – passed as safe – to be used for osteoporosis and for some women whose cancer has weakened the bone. Campaigners are urging the Government and the NHS to change the guidelines to enable doctors to routinely offer them to all women diagnosed with breast cancer after the menopause.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Cancer, , , ,

‘Bogus’ breast cancer heat scans are putting lives at risk because they claim to be more effective than mammograms, says MP

Private health clinics are putting women’s lives at risk with a ‘bogus’ breast cancer test they claim to be more accurate than NHS mammograms, a leading MP has warned.

Dozens of ‘alternative’ clinics offer women heat scans to detect breast cancer, suggesting to clients that the radiation-free tests are safer than standard mammography. The thermal imaging technique works on the theory that tumours – even tiny ones – show up as ‘hot spots’. But Dr Sarah Wollaston, a trained GP and chairman of the House of Commons Health Select Committee, says they are giving women ‘false reassurance that they are clear of breast cancer’. The Tory MP says there is ‘no credible evidence’ that the thermography tests accurately spot cancer, and accuses clinics of making ‘deliberately misleading’ claims they are a safe alternative to mammography.

An investigation by The Mail on Sunday has found clinics are:

  • Cherry-picking academic studies that back thermal imaging – while exaggerating the shortfalls of mammography;
  • Misleading patients by quoting accuracy rates of up to 97 per cent – when an objective scientific review found accuracy is far lower;
  • Over-playing fears about the radiation dangers of mammograms – when the risk of the procedure triggering cancer is tiny.

Click on the link to read more


Filed under: Cancer, , ,

Drug could help slow half of breast cancers, study suggests

A cheap and safe drug could help half of women with breast cancer to live longer, scientists suggest.

Their study, published in Nature, is in its early stages, but hints that the hormone progesterone could be used to slow the growth of some tumours. The UK and Australian researchers say the findings are “very significant” and they are planning clinical trials. Cancer Research UK said the study was “highly significant” and could help thousands of women. Hormones play a huge role in breast cancer. They can make a cancerous cell divide by hooking up with “hormone receptors” on the surface of a cancer. One of the most successful breast cancer drugs, tamoxifen, bungs up the oestrogen receptor.

“Better Control”

Cancers with progesterone receptors were known to be less deadly, but the reason why was unclear and they have not been explored as a treatment Now a team at the University of Cambridge and the University of Adelaide have studied cancer cells growing in the laboratory. They show that the progesterone receptor and the oestrogen receptor are closely linked and that the progesterone receptor can make the oestrogen receptor less nasty. Cancer cells growing in the laboratory grew to half the size when treated with progesterone and tamoxifen than when given tamoxifen alone.

One of the researchers, Prof Carlos Caldas from the University of Cambridge, told the BBC News website: “It appears you control the tumours better, but to prove it is better in women with breast cancer we need to do the trial. “It could be very significant. In early breast cancer you could increase the number of people being cured and in advanced breast cancer, where we’re not curing, we could control the disease for longer.” The researchers are in the first stages of planning a clinical trial.

About 75% of women have breast cancers with the oestrogen receptor and of those, 75% also have progesterone receptors. It suggests roughly half of women could benefit. Dr Emma Smith, from Cancer Research UK, said the early results were an “exciting” prospect. She told the BBC: “This is a highly significant finding. It could be an easy, cheap and simple way to improve the survival of thousands of women, but it needs clinical trials.”



Filed under: Cancer, , , ,

‘Amazing’ new breast cancer drugs could extend life of sufferers

Experts said that they were hopeful that the treatment would save lives, with signs it could spare one in three breast cancer sufferers from undergoing invasive surgery

Women with advanced breast cancer could live longer thanks to two new drugs hailed as offering an “amazing” step forward in treatment. One therapy destroyed 40 per cent of tumours among patients with one of the most deadly forms of cancer – twice as many as those given standard treatment. Experts said that they were hopeful that the treatment would save lives, with signs it could spare one in three breast cancer sufferers from undergoing invasive surgery.

The second combination therapy – which works for the most common type of breast cancer, more than doubled the time tumours were kept at bay. It meant women with advanced disease were able to secure an extra five months before enduring gruelling sessions of chemotherapy.

Click on the link to read more


Reports claim that Perjeta redused tumours and in 40 percent of cases disappeared


Palbociclib is also showing exciting early trials

Filed under: Cancer,


Jo is a courageous woman who is in remission from breast cancer and in her own plight she helps so many with her fundraising and brilliant informative website AFTER BREAST CANCER DIAGNOSIS” 

Jo’s website provides information on Breast Cancer Reconstructions for making informed decisions, finding surgeons and consultants to perform specific reconstruction surgery. Finding specific cancer networks and hospitals. Providing diet and exercise tips and health website information. Providing you with news and information from the UK and around the world. Providing a source of photographs of true reconstructions from patients themselves as well as a forum where patients can meet other patients. Also features information on surgical procedures, new research developments, as well as documenting her own illness and treatment.

To help expand Jo’s website in helping to support other Breast Cancer sufferers,  please vote for Jo Taylor on the link below


Filed under: Cancer,

Check Yourself, Don’t Wreck Yourself! Cancer Awareness Campaign Video

Heather Walters is a superstar! Whilst battling breast cancer she wanted to make as many people as possible aware of the importance of checking yourself for lumps and bumps. Rather than wait until chemo had finished she wading right on in there and started putting together the elements needed to create an awareness video! That’s where I came in handy! Heather’s friend Sam Harding had re-written the lyrics to Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off and she asked me to sing it, which I did with joy.
Then, with the help of The Unlimited Dance Company we created a dance flash mob style in Barnstaple High Street!
We’re hoping Miss Swift doesn’t mind us nicking her song…we did ask her ‘people’ but got no reply… but it’s for such an amazing cause that we hope she doesn’t mind too much!

Filed under: Cancer, Uncategorized, ,

What I learned as a cancer patient will make me a better doctor

All cancer doctors deal with harrowing stories. Like many, I had coped during my six years as a consultant oncologist at the Christie, by adopting a firm belief that it could never happen to me. Unsurprising then, my sense of shock when, just over a year ago, I left my busy gastric cancer clinic to receive the results of my own biopsy, taken from a breast lump the week before. If I am totally honest I knew what was coming. The mammograms and ultrasound scan had left me with little doubt, but I had clung to the slim hope it was just a big scare.

Despite years of training in clinical communication skills, I now know how it is that patients only recall the first sentence when bad news is broken. “I have the results of your biopsy and I am afraid it is not good news”, is what I heard my surgeon say. I had been diagnosed with breast cancer. The rest of the consultation passed in a blur. In that moment it felt like my whole identity had been turned on its head. I was no longer a cancer doctor, I was a cancer patient with all the fears and questions that anyone faced with that diagnosis experiences: how will I cope? Who will look after the children? What will happen with work? Will my husband manage? Will I die?

ReceptionA friendly word from the receptionist, or the secretary you call to check on a lost appointement can make all the difference to someone with cancer. Photograph: Alamy

Filed under: Cancer, Uncategorized, , ,

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