Here we provide links some of the recent media coverage about issues affecting women with breast cancer. We give full credit to the source of every story.
If any of the links don't work for you, copy and paste the headline into Google.com or your preferred Internet browser.
Women in the UK with advanced hormone receptor positive breast cancer will now have another treatment option, i.e. the CDK4/6 inhibitor ribociclib (Kisqali) with fulvestrant. This will be given after previous treatment with endocrine therapy such as tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor. In the UK, over 80% of drugs are approved for funding by NICE compared to about 25% by PHARMAC in NZ, and the UK’s system is geared for fast decisions while NZ has no time limits. We need a NICE system in here!!
New Zealand’s Breast Special Interest Group (BSIG) has written to the Health Select Committee saying many breast cancer patients who can’t afford to pay for certain medicines themselves have shorter lives and poorer quality of life.
The committee is considering two petitions from Metavivors calling for the funding of two medicines for advanced breast cancer – Ibrance and Kadcyla.
The submission is signed by BSIG group chair Dr Reuben Broom and secretary Dr Sarah Barton, and calls for more money for PHARMAC to give those with breast cancer more treatment options at affordable prices.
A long-awaited and much-campaigned-for national cancer action plan is set to soon be released for public consultation. The plan, which was committed to by Health Minister David Clark during the Cancer Care at a Crossroads Conference in January, aims to address disparities in Kiwis current access to fair and consistent cancer treatment around the country.
Summary: Chief Executive of the UK’s drug buying agency NICE, Sir Andrew Dillon, talked on Radio NZ about the UK system where Ibrance and Kadcyla are funded. It is vastly different to our own PHARMAC, with the UK funding 80% of drugs compared to about 25% in NZ. Cancer drugs can be approved within up to 180 days of being licensed in the UK compared to the years NZ applications can take.
BCAC says this is a system geared to get modern drugs to patients faster. NICE operates collaboratively and transparently to ensure the remarkable benefits of new medicines can be enjoyed by patients. So different from PHARMAC. This UK model is one NZ should follow, BCAC says!
National Party's health leader Michael Woodhouse has promised to take New Zealand's biggest ever cancer petition - signed by more than 100,000 Kiwis - to Parliament and says he will fight to drastically better the country's public health system. Woodhouse was one of 650 New Zealanders who gathered in Invercargill this weekend to join dying dad Blair Vining in his last hope for change.
Vining - with his wife Melissa and their daughters Lilly and Della-May - are the backbone of the petition calling on the Government to fund a national cancer agency. "Every New Zealander should have the right to the best treatment regardless of money, age, ethnicity, and location," Melissa says.
Opinion, by Troy Elliott
April 3, 2014 was the worst day of my life. It was the day my wife was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. A day that now rivals this in emotion is May 30, 2019. On diagnosis, I was told Tracey only had about 12 days to live, then I was told multiple times she may not get through 24 hours. To see my beloved wife go through brain surgery, lung surgery and over 60 rounds of chemotherapy and never once complain is both uplifiting and heartbreaking at the same time.
As the true warrior princess Tracey is, she survived the night, only for us to be told that this time it is inoperable, and the only option is a drug called Kadcyla. This drug is $8,867.63 every three weeks. Earlier in the month, a group of cancer patients and advocates presented petitions on the steps of parliament to MPs from every party. I was one of those advocates. Wednesday June 5 is my wife's second round of Kadcyla. It is also our 19th wedding anniversary. I hope that we have many more, but If I was to rely on Pharmac, I think I would be tragically wrong.
A personal reflection by Stuff journalist Bess Manson: A woman approached me. She apologised for interrupting and hoped she was not speaking out of turn. "A time will come when all this will be a distant memory." It's funny how one simple act like that can have such a profound effect. It got me through the most difficult time of my life.
A Marlborough mother who long lobbied for a breakthrough cancer drug to be funded by Pharmac has died.
Emily Stein, 32, has been remembered as "a bright light in the face of adversity" after she died in her Blenheim home on Friday, surrounded by family.
By Malcolm Mulholland
The Mulholland family had their world turned upside down when mum of three Wiki was diagnosed with breast cancer on May 4, 2018. Husband Malcolm has charted the highs and lows, the despair and hope, in a diary, as he campaigns for access to costly drugs that could save his wife's life. Wiki and Malcolm have been leading campaigners in calls for proper funding of breast cancer medicines for women with advanced breast cancer, with involvement and full support from Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition.
The Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition yesterday said Pharmac had refused funding for Kadcyla, one of two drugs which women with advanced breast cancer hope will be funded by Pharmac. "This is a huge blow for women with advanced HER2 positive breast cancer who took a petition to Parliament in October 2018 calling for Pharmac to fund this medicine," Breast Cancer Aotearoa chairwoman Libby Burgess said in a statement.
A spokeswoman for Roche said Roche representatives and senior members of Pharmac met on April 12. "At this meeting Roche was notified that currently the prioritisation of Kadcyla meant that Pharmac would be investing in other medicines. When Roche asked what those other priorities were, Pharmac would not share any further information," the spokeswoman said.