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Statement from the APPGBC on breast cancer screening error
2 May 2018
Thangam Debbonaire MP, Craig Tracey MP and Dr Philippa Whitford MP, co-chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer, said:
We’re disappointed to hear that so many women have missed out on invitations to breast screening, and it’s shocking that this failure has gone undetected for the last nine years. Screening is vital in preventing deaths from breast cancer, as the earlier the disease is detected, the more successful treatment is likely to be.
We welcome the steps outlined by the Health Secretary to urgently address this situation and contact those who were mistakenly not offered a final screening. While it is believed this issue does not affect the screening service in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, there may be women who have moved to one of the devolved nations and must also be identified quickly and offered mammography if appropriate.
It is essential that those affected now receive appropriate screening, and we look to Public Health England to take steps to rectify this error for those affected, and look forward to seeing action taken to ensure that the Breast Screening Programme is adequately resourced to deal with the impact of this mistake.
We will be following the progress of the independent review and seeking assurances that these issues are addressed so this is not allowed to happen again.
Our thoughts are with all of those women who have been affected and have been caused great anxiety by this situation.”
Statement from the APPGBC on the approval of palbociclib for routine use on the NHS in Scotland
The Scottish Medicines Consortium has approved the breast cancer drug palbociclib (Ibrance, Pfizer) for routine use on the NHS in Scotland. It is one of a new class of drugs that work by inhibiting two crucial cell division proteins called CDK4 and CDK6 – known as CDK4/6 inhibitors.
The APPG on Breast Cancer Officers said:
We are delighted that the effective breast cancer drug palbociclib (Ibrance, Pfizer) has been approved for routine use on the NHS in Scotland for women with hormone receptor positive, HER2 negative secondary breast cancer as a first line treatment. It is estimated that providing palbociclib with letrozole (an aromatase inhibitor) could provide an estimated 250 women with around an additional 10 months before their condition progresses, a substantial improvement on the previous treatment of aromatase inhibitors alone. Today’s announcement is fantastic news.”
Statement from the APPGBC on the approval of palbociclib and ribociclib for routine use on the NHS in England
The APPG on Breast Cancer welcomes the news that breast cancer drugs palbociclib and ribociclib have been approved for routine use on the NHS in England.
Palbociclib and ribociclib will now provide a new first-line treatment option for post-menopausal patients with hormone receptor positive, HER2 negative locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer. Both drugs are to be given in combination with aromatase inhibitors, and offer patients around ten extra months before their disease gets worse compared to the alternative treatment – an aromatase inhibitor alone. During these months of progression-free survival, the disease remains stable, often allowing patients to live relatively normal lives for longer.
The APPG co-chairs Philippa Whitford MP, Craig Tracey MP and Thangam Debbonaire MP said:
We’re absolutely delighted that more than 8,000 women in England each year will now be able to benefit from these innovative treatments on the NHS. These drugs are a significant advance in treatment for patients with this type of incurable metastatic breast cancer – a patient group that has had to wait a long time for new and better options.
These drugs significantly extend the time patients have before their disease gets worse, which we know is so important to them and their families – and it’s reassuring to see that NICE have recognised the value of this. “We now need to see access is ensured across all UK nations, including in Scotland, where we await the SMC’s imminent decision on palbociclib, and will be closely monitoring its appraisal of ribociclib next year.”
Statement from the APPGBC regarding the agreement between NHS England and Roche over the price of Perjeta
The APPG on Breast Cancer welcomes the news announced today that NHS England and Roche have reached a commercial agreement on Perjeta. We urge NICE to approve Perjeta as soon as possible, to provide reassurance that it will continue to be available to the 1,300 new patients a year in England with secondary breast cancer who could benefit from it.
Perjeta is a transformational drug which significantly extends the life of women with HER2 positive incurable secondary breast cancer, by nearly 16 additional months compared to the alternative treatment option. It also gives women taking it a good quality of life, enabling them to spend priceless extra time with their loved ones.
The APPG co-chairs Philippa Whitford MP, Craig Tracey MP and Thangam Debbonaire MP said:
We are delighted that this positive first step has been announced. We hope to see Perjeta become routinely available in England on the NHS soon. We hope Roche will be able to work together with the devolved administrations to achieve access to Perjeta for women across the UK, so that eligible women in the devolved nations can also benefit from this life-extending treatment. The APPGBC will continue to advocate for cost and clinically effective treatments for women with breast cancer.”
Statement from the APPGBC regarding the decision to reject fulvestrant for routine use on the NHS
On 1 September NICE provisionally rejected fulvestrant (Faslodex) for post-menopausal women with hormone positive locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer that have not already had treatment with hormone therapy.
We are disappointed to hear that fulvestrant has been rejected for routine use on the NHS by NICE. Although uncertainties remain around this drug’s overall survival benefit, fulvestrant can offer some women nearly three additional months of quality time before their breast cancer gets worse, compared to the current standard of care.
It’s estimated that over a thousand women in England each year could be eligible for this treatment, and will unfortunately now miss out on the benefits of fulvestrant.
It’s critical that new treatment options are found for this group of patients. Once better evidence for this drug’s overall survival benefit has been gathered, we would urge for it to be reappraised for NHS use.”
Statement from the Co-Chairs of the Breast Cancer APPGBC - Sharon Hodgson MP, Dr Philippa Whitford MP and Craig Tracey MP - on the news that Kadcyla will continue to be available to eligible women on the NHS
The APPG welcomes the news announced that Kadcyla will now be offered by NHS England, which will now benefit the 1,200 women living with secondary breast cancer who rely upon this drug treatment. This follows the announcement earlier this year that NHS Scotland will provide Kadcyla, and the APPG hopes that Northern Ireland and Wales will follow England and Scotland and provide this drug to women with secondary breast cancer, so we see no disparity in the treatment women receive across the UK.
Not only will this drug treatment help extend the lives of those women living with this terminal illness, but it will help to improve their quality of life too. This is why the APPG has campaigned on this issue, which included bringing key decision makers, policy makers and campaigners together to discuss a way forward to ensure the right outcome was reached for these women.
This is absolutely the right decision and this outcome will offer a lot of peace and hope for the many women, along with their family and friends, who have had to live with a question mark over their future drug treatment. This announcement should be celebrated and congratulations must go to everyone for their hard work in fighting for this outcome.”
Statement from the APPGBC regarding the decision to make Kadcyla routinely available on the NHS in Scotland
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer (APPGBC) is delighted that Kadcyla will now be made routinely available in Scotland for the very first time.
This targeted drug represents a really crucial treatment option, offering patients with incurable breast cancer precious extra months – and in many cases, years – of good quality time with their loved ones.
Patients across the rest of the UK will now be waiting to hear whether they too will be able to access Kadcyla routinely on the NHS. Following this positive decision, we very much hope that NICE and Roche will now be able to reach a similar agreement to see this vital, life-extending drug made widely available south of the border.
Bi-monthly Officers’ Meeting, 23 November 2016
Breast Cancer Awareness Month Reception marks launch of inquiry into geographical inequalities
In October 2016, the APPGBC launched its new inquiry, 'A Mixed Picture: An Inquiry Into Geographical Inequalities and Breast Cancer,' at its Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) Reception in the House of Commons. We were delighted to be joined by over 100 MPs, Peers, civil servants, health professionals, patients, and charity representatives.
AGM: 14 September 2016
Breast cancer prevention debate
In April 2016 there was a lively debate held at Portcullis House, Westminster where experts from the breast cancer community spoke for or against the motion: ‘This APPG [All-Party Parliamentary Group] believes that more focus should be put on preventing breast cancer.’
A Mixed Picture
The APPGBC recently launched its new inquiry, A Mixed Picture: An Inquiry into Geographical Inequalities and Breast Cancer. You can find out more here.
Age is Just a Number: Parliamentary report into older people and breast cancer
More than half of breast cancer deaths in the UK are in women over 70, and by 2040, almost three-quarters of all women living with breast cancer in the UK will be aged over 65.
However, according to a report from the APPGBC, this patient population is not being adequately provided for.
In 2013, the APPGBC led an inquiry into older people and breast cancer with an aim to better understand the variations and barriers preventing all patients diagnosed with the disease having access to the services, treatments and care that benefits them most, regardless of their age.
The Age is Just a Number report laid out a series of key recommendations with a view to improving services specifically for this patient population, representing the culmination of the findings of the Inquiry.
Two years on, the APPGBC have reviewed the recommendations and published a progress report, Age is still just a number. While there are a number of areas where progress has been made, such as through new campaigns aimed at raising awareness of the disease in older women, the Group found that a lot of work still needs to be done.
In particular, the Group was disappointed that its recommendation to extend breast cancer screening age extension trials to women aged 74-76 has not been taken forward by Public Health England. Meanwhile, care and support for older women with breast cancer is still inadequate – the report argues for greater home support such as caring for dependents while someone needs treatment for breast cancer.
Now that the gaps in service provision have been identified, the Group will be playing an active role in following up its recommendations to ensure that all older breast cancer patients receive the care they need throughout the next parliament.
Get in touch
Breast Cancer Now provides the Secretariat to the APPG on Breast Cancer. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7025 0088.
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