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Speedy Breast Cancer Drug is Approved

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7:38am 24th September 2013

Pirate FM has learnt that if a Cornish woman who beat breast cancer was diagnosed as little as four years ago, she would have died.

Jenny from Tuckingmill is praising treatments like a new Herceptin jab that takes just five minutes.

It is hoped the drug that has been granted a licence by the European Medicines Agency will replace the drip method, which can take up to an hour and a half.

Figures show 520 women in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are diagnosed with breast cancer every year.

The south-west has the highest rates in the country.

Jenny was part of another trial and says the advances in treatment are amazing: "I was told after I finished my treatment, not before, if I'd have had the cancer four years before, we wouldn't be sitting here now having this conversation so that's how far advanced it's got in such a short time.

"I think it's amazing what's going on here and there is a lot of research going and I think we've probably got some of the best research going on in the country down here. If I was going to have cancer I think I was in the right county."

Professor Lesley Fallowfield, Director Sussex Health Outcomes Research & Education in Cancer, University of Sussex said: "Time is precious to women with breast cancer, far too precious to be waiting around in busy chemotherapy centres. If subcutaneous delivery of Herceptin were to replace intravenous administration in the NHS then patients would spend less time in hospital and more time getting on with their lives. If this method is adopted in the NHS then the quality of life of women with HER 2-positive breast cancer could be dramatically improved."

Dr Mark Verrill, Consultant Medical Oncologist, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle Upon Tyne said: "The licensing of subcutaneous Herceptin is a real boost for patients. Up to now, we have only had an intravenous formulation requiring intravenous access for each 30 minute infusion. Treatment is given every three weeks and typically carries on for a year or more, so overall, it is quite intrusive. We can now give Herceptin by a 5 minute subcutaneous injection - it's much quicker and simpler. In a clinical study where women received treatment by both routes, the overwhelming majority preferred subcutaneous Herceptin. As well as the advantage for patients, subcutaneous Herceptin frees capacity on busy chemotherapy day units. It lends itself to administration in the community, resonating with the Cancer Reform Strategy drive for treatment closer to home."

7:38am 24th September 2013

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