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A group of campaigners have handed over a petition to Number Ten, urging the Government to help protect the use of a life-prolonging drug.
Ann Denison is a pancreatic cancer survivor from Stevenage, and she, with her partner David, were among the group of the 2,000 strong petition delegation who travelled up to Downing Street to hand over the campaign.
The group are campaigning against the drug Abraxane being removed from the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF), and therefore removed as an option for treatment for pancreatic cancer patients. Abraxane is currently one of 42 drugs on the CDF being reassessed for general use, and could be removed from the list altogether – something which concerns Pancreatic Cancer UK.
Alex Ford, the Chief Executive of Pancreatic Cancer UK said: “As a charity which offers a specialist support service, we take many calls from distressed families following the loss of a loved one and all too often they tell us that it all happened so quickly and that any amount of extra time, however small would have made a huge difference.”The charity say that Abraxane can extend a patient’s life by an average of two months, but other individuals have often survived much longer.
He added, “This might be to enabled them to complete a degree, walk down the aisle or to see Christmas with their friends and family. We hope that this petition will force key decision makers to fully consider the impact of removing Abraxane from the CDF, not in terms of statistics and cost efficiencies but in terms of time – something none of us can put a price on.”
Miss Denison said; “This petition is all about protecting Abraxane from being removed from the CDF. This drug prolongs the lives of people who are terminally ill, it gives them more time with their families and that should not be taken away from them.”
Luckily, Miss Denison’s cancer was caught relatively early, so she did not require the use of Abraxane as treatment. She began volunteering at the Lister Macmillan Cancer Centre in Stevenage, and says working there has allowed her to see first-hand the benefits of extending people’s lives.