Cancer sufferers prescribed nearly 10,000 treatments through special fund after NHS said they weren't 'cost effective'
Cancer sufferers have been prescribed nearly 10,000 treatments denied to them by the NHS through a temporary fund.
Patients are able to request special assistance from the Cancer Drugs Fund for medicine that has been refused to them because it is not 'cost effective'.
The Government has provided 200million for the scheme, which has assisted people with bowel, breast, prostate, head, neck and other cancers.
Lifeline: Patients with cancers including bowel and breast have accessed drugs through the temporary fund
The number of patients to have benefitted from the fund could be slightly less than 10,000 because more than one treatment could have been given to a single person.
The funding – which is managed by the Rarer Cancers Foundation – is due to run out in 2014.
Costs of care: The Government has given 200million to the scheme, helping to provide vital medicines that patients could not otherwise afford
RCF patient support adviser Julia Black told the Daily Telegraph: 'The Cancer Drugs Fund has put patients and doctors back at the heart of decision-making and transformed the way cancer patients are able to access clinically effective cancer treatments, enabling them to gain precious extra time with their families.'
The most commonly approved treatments were Avastin (for various cancers including bowel and breast); Erbitux (for bowel, head and neck cancers); Tyverb (for advanced breast cancer); Zytiga (for advanced protate cancer) and Afinitor (which works on various cancers).
The RCF website states: 'There are currently inequalities of care and support facing cancer patients in the UK. For example, where the patient lives, how long it takes to achieve a diagnosis, and availability of treatment.
'These inequalities can have an enormous effect on a patient’s quality of life, and, ultimately, on their prognosis.'
It claims that up to half of all cancer cases can be classified as ‘rarer’.
It says patients with these types of cancer can feel isolated and can struggle to get the right information.
'The GP may know very little about the condition, and it is difficult to get accurate information about the prognosis or the effect of treatment,' it adds.