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We welcome the SMC's approval of pembrolizumab for use on the NHS in Scotland

Melanie Sturtevant, associate director of policy, evidence and influencing at Breast Cancer Now, said:

“It’s brilliant news that certain patients with primary triple negative breast cancer will now be able to access pembrolizumab (Keytruda) on the NHS in Scotland.1   This exciting new drug is an important step forward for patients with this type of breast cancer who’ve faced limited treatment options for far too long.   

“While less common, triple negative breast cancer can be particularly aggressive and often with poorer outcomes. For those living with the disease and their loved ones, the fear of the cancer returning can be overwhelming. 

“Pembrolizumab offers precious hope of more lives being saved from this devastating disease, by significantly reducing the risk of the cancer coming back or spreading to other parts of the body and becoming incurable. The treatment may also lead to any detectable cancer disappearing by the time of surgery, meaning patients can potentially face less invasive, breast-conserving surgery.  

"We encourage women to discuss their breast cancer treatment options with their healthcare team. Anyone affected by breast cancer can speak to Breast Cancer Now’s expert nurses by calling our free Helpline on 0808 800 6000 for information and support.” 


Notes to editor 

  1. The Scottish Medicines Consortium has recommended pembrolizumab for use with chemotherapy for neoadjuvant treatment and alone as adjuvant treatment after surgery for adults with triple negative primary breast cancer at high risk of recurrence or locally advanced breast cancer. 

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