Family's plea to help Veteran with cancer get 'life-saving' treatment

Michael Lynaghan, a former paratrooper from Ayr, was told he only had six weeks to live in October 2021.

Fundraiser launched for former paratrooper from Ayr with terminal cancer to pay for ‘life-saving’ treatment not available on NHS Supplied

A fundraiser has been launched to help a Scottish veteran with terminal cancer pay for “life-saving” treatment that is not available on the NHS.

Michael Lynaghan, a former paratrooper from Ayr, was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 41 in October 2021 and was told he only had six weeks to live.

“It was devastating, the doctor said a man of Michael’s age at the time should have prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels around one or two, but his were in the thousands,” his wife Cara said.

The veteran, who is now 44, was put on a daily chemotherapy tablet, called Abiraterone, and monthly hormone injections that helped his PSA levels drop to 0.7.

Former paratrooper Michael Lynaghan was diagnosed with prostate cancer in October of 2021.Supplied

At the end of 2023, tests showed that his levels had increased again and the treatment had stopped being as effective and a new treatment called Lutetium-177 PSMA might be his only option.

The treatment, which is not available on the NHS due to funding costs, attacks the cancerous cells directly but is only available at two private practices in England – The Royal Marsden, an NHS trust, and the London Clinic, which is where King Charles recently had surgery.

Mrs Lynaghan told STV News: “The doctor’s said that chemo was an option but it wouldn’t extend his life for much longer, and would destroy his immune system.

“She told us about Lutetium-177 PSMA which attacks cancerous cells only, but the NHS aren’t able to fund it because of the cost.”

A fundraiser has been set up to pay for the treatment which is only privately available.Supplied

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) said that it was unable to authorise the use of the drug as the evidence provided on on how well the medicine works, against how much it would cost to use, was “not strong enough” when compared to current treatments.

After researching the costs, Mrs Lynaghan found that the treatment can cost around £14,200 per dose at the Royal Marsden, but the amount doesn’t include the cost of scans, deposits and consultations her husband would also need.

The costs were “overwhelming” for the couple, who are relying on universal credit to support themselves as well as their two young daughters, Murrin, aged six, and Willow, aged five.

Mrs Lynaghan has been unable to work due to her undergoing brain surgery in February 2024 after an aneurysm in 2018.

“We aren’t a family that asks for money, but the cost of the treatment is so high I decided to start the GoFundMe. Michael said that ‘nobody is going to help me’ but I just had to try”, the mum-of-two said.

She launched the GoFundMe after they were told her husband’s PSA levels had increased again. It has managed hit over £11,000 of it’s £72,000 target in the six days since it was launched.

Mrs Lynaghan said that seeing the hundreds of donations come in has been “so humbling”.

“I mean with the state of the economy at the moment, people are struggling to feed themselves but they have given £5 so the girls get to keep their daddy,” she added.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, and Royal Marsden have been contacted for contact.

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