Breast cancer patients face a $93,000 a year bill for extra life

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Oncology News AustraliaSource: The Herald – Sue Dunlevy.

Women whose breast cancer has spread will face a $93,000 bill for a breakthrough treatment that can their extend their lives if a government subsidy is rejected for a third time this week.

Sydney lawyer and mother of four Liz Kirkland who is accessing the treatment Kadcyla under a clinical trial says it “has probably saved my life”.

The mother-of-four who commenced the treatment for secondary HER 2 positive breast cancer 21 months ago says there is now no evidence of cancer in her body.

“I’ve gone from being bedridden with my hands and feet bleeding, mouth ulcers, dizzy and putting on a huge amount of weight to not knowing I had a terminal illness,” the 52-year-old told News Corp Australia.

“The majority of women in my position don’t have long. There is a window of opportunity to get the drug and I know other women who are not getting it and they will die and their children won’t be as fortunate as mine.

“I’ve gone from being a classic cancer patient with no hope for the future whatsoever to going back to work, looking after four children, cooking dinner every night, going out with my friends and giving my children a normal childhood.”

kadclyaMater Hospital oncologist Professor Fran Boyle says the side effects of Kadcyla are less than other chemotherapy because the treatment is targeted and is only released inside the cancer cells and does not affect healthy cells.

‘You don’t lose your hair and the nausea is much less,” she said.

Clinical trials have shown with a combination of treatments including Kadcyla survival of women with secondary breast cancer had doubled from two years to almost four years, she said.

Women using existing treatments can survive for 25 months but they lose their hair, suffer nausea and diahorrea, lose the skin on their hands and feet…read more.

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