Secondary breast cancer patient Bonnie tells us why we must campaign for the drug Kadcyla to remain available on the NHS, so that women like her are given precious extra time to live.
Last July, I was diagnosed with primary and secondary breast cancer at the same time. I was absolutely devastated – I was 37 and my son Barnaby was only four months old.
I’d been having trouble breastfeeding from the start and my GP sent me to have some scans. I had a gut feeling something wasn’t right and within two weeks I found out that not only did I have breast cancer, but that it had spread to my liver and my bones. I'd also lost the function of one of my kidneys as a result of the cancer.
I then began a six-month whirlwind of chemotherapy. It was a really difficult time struggling with the side effects and going in and out of hospital whilst adjusting to taking care of Barnaby. We were so lucky to have family nearby to help us out.
Since then, I‘ve been on Herceptin and Perjeta every three weeks and I feel really well with very few side-effects. I work two days a week and have got married and had several holidays since my diagnosis.
Life is far from easy though – I juggle hospital appointments, work and childcare – but I’m still able to enjoy plenty of quality time with Barnaby and do all the things I want to do. I'm loving being a mum so much.
What Kadcyla means to me
Knowing how effective the drug Kadcyla is, I feel really cheated that it may no longer be available to patients on the NHS.
Women that I know who’ve been prescribed Kadcyla have done well on it for a long time. I already feel cheated being diagnosed with secondary breast cancer at 37 with a baby, so having a drug taken away that could potentially add years to my life is so cruel. Every day is precious with my little boy, so the value of a drug that could give me more quality time with him is beyond priceless.
Kadcyla is a brilliant drug and women who are already dealing with the enormous challenge that is secondary breast cancer deserve access to it.
Why you should support the Keep Kadcyla campaign
Most people don’t fully understand what having secondary breast cancer means; I’m now completely dependent on drugs and my life revolves around the drugs I take. I have been taking Herceptin and Perjeta for over a year now and I may well need a drug like Kadcyla in the near future. Now that it has just been rejected for routine use on the NHS, I may no longer be able to access this life-giving treatment.
Last year, Breast Cancer Now successfully campaigned for the price of Kadcyla to be lowered, so that it could be kept on the Cancer Drugs Fund. This shows we can achieve remarkable things when we come together.
Our petition calling on NICE and Roche to come together, re-assess this decision and find a solution to keep Kadcyla available closed on Monday 23 January. Find out how the campaign went.