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Herceptin is the cure for early stages of breast cancer?

Barbara Clark, who won the case that allowed her to get the drug Herceptin for her breast cancer treatment showed positive signs of recovery from the cancer. // Miss Clark, 49, had been taking the drug for four months.

But also said that there is a 50 % possibility of the cancer to come back. She was diagnosed with HER2-positive breast cancer, an aggressive form of the disease. But she was denied the drug because it was not licensed for early stage breast cancer and because her primary care trust had not budgeted for it.

She threatened to take her case to the European court of Human Rights. Then her 12-year-old foster son, Ash who was chronically ill requested the Somerset Coast Primary Care Trust. Then a panel decided that she had exceptional needs and gave her the drugs. She said that Herceptin made the cancer less aggressive.

It costs about £21,800 per patient and can increase life expectancy by 52 %. In this struggle of hers she has brought various changes, which would benefit the other breast cancer sufferers.

She said her future would involve in further campaigning for breast cancer sufferers who are in need of Herceptin. The drug has a licence for advanced breast cancer and is not officially approved for early stage disease.

Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary, has said that drugs should not be denied on grounds of cost alone. Roche, the drug makers are finalizing the safety data and will submit an application to the European licensing authority in the next two or three weeks.

This would then allow the drug to be made available for early cancer treatment. Then it is left to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) to decide whether Herceptin has to be used in the NHS.


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