Drug U-turn welcomed by cancer survivor
ACANCER survivor has welcomed a funding U-turn for an innovative medicine which saved her life.
Carol Jarvis, from Macclesfield, tried every treatment possible to combat Hodgkin’s Lymphoma before being told she would not survive.
In a last ditch effort to save her, she was allowed access to the drug Adcetris which took her into remission.
More than a decade later the health regulator NICE has given hope to more patients after approving long-term funding.
It followed a decision to last year to reject use of the drug.
Carol, a professional trombonist who has played with music stars including Seal, Michael Bolton, One Direction, Bon Jovi and Rod Stewart, said she owes her life to the drug.
She said: “Adcetris came along at exactly the right time for me. I had exhausted every possible avenue of treatment, which all failed.
“I had been told by my specialists to get my head around the fact that I wasn’t going to survive, as nothing was working and there was nothing left to try.
“Thankfully I was treated at The Christie and my specialist managed to get me on to Adcetris.
“It was the first drug to get me to remission in seven years of trying everything else.”
Carol, now 39, later had a bone marrow transplant and is fighting fit.
She said: “My lungs have massively suffered from the years and years of treatments, especially the radiotherapy and hard-hitting stem cell and bone marrow transplants, but I am back to doing what I love, and just enjoying feeling normal again.”
NICE has agreed to fund patients where their disease returns following an autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) and funding via the Cancer Drug Fund (CDF) for patients who have received two previous therapies but who are unsuitable to receive a stem cell transplant or other chemotherapy.
However, NICE has refused to fund patients who are at high risk of their disease returning after an ASCT.
Carol added: “It is essential that drugs are always available for patients. You simply cannot put a price on life.
“I certainly wouldn’t still be here if it hadn’t been for Adcetris, and everyone else who happens to find themselves in the position I was in also deserves that chance of life.”
Professional trombonist Carol Jarvis