New breast cancer treatment offers 'life-changing hope' for patients

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has approved trastuzumab deruxtecan (Enhertu) for use on the NHS in Scotland.

New breast cancer treatment approved for NHS use brings ‘life-changing hope’ for Scottish patients iStock

A new breast cancer treatment which has been approved for use on the NHS in Scotland will offer “life-changing hope” to patients.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) approved trastuzumab deruxtecan (Enhertu) for use on the NHS in Scotland on Monday.

Trastuzumab deruxtecan was accepted for treating adults with a type of breast cancer called HER2-low. It is the first medicine to be licensed for this type of breast cancer.

Patricia Snow from the Highlands was diagnosed with HER2-low secondary breast cancer six years ago in December 2017.

The 66-year-old shared that she is “thrilled” by the news, adding that she hopes it will help her live long enough for her two-year-old grandson to remember his granny.

“A secondary breast cancer diagnosis is devastating and life-changing. It’s a roller coaster of emotions, good days, bad days and even worse days.

“Trastuzumab deruxtecan is a treatment that could give people like me more time to spend with my family and friends. The possibility of living longer and enjoying life.

“Any new treatment gives us hope for a future. Hope that one day this disease could be chronic and not terminal, as without hope things can seem bleak.

“It was so important to me to work with Breast Cancer Now to help make the availability of this drug a reality in Scotland, and my hope now is that it is made available for all women that could be eligible right across the UK, to give them precious hope too,” Ms Snow said.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive at Breast Cancer Now, said that the drug will bring “life-changing hope” for patients.

“This decision ushers in an exciting new era of treatment for people with HER2-low incurable secondary breast cancer in Scotland – providing for the first time an effective HER2-targeted treatment for this group of patients.

“Crucially, for eligible patients trastuzumab deruxtecan (Enhertu) can both slow the spread of the cancer and increase survival compared to chemotherapy, bringing people the life-changing hope of more time to live and do the things that matter most to them.

“It’s vital this treatment now reaches all women who so desperately need it, as in England over two months after a provisional rejection by NICE there’s still no final decision.

“With the process now paused, women will continue to endure an agonising wait to find out if they will get access to the treatment in time.

“Daiichi Sankyo and NHS England must urgently agree a deal that makes this treatment available on the NHS.”

The SMC also approved six other new drugs to be used on the NHS which will help patients will skin, lung and prostate cancer, Pompe disease, psoriasis and axial spondyloarthritis.

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