Read­ers can help se­cure de­bate on revo­lu­tion­ary drug

Cam­paign­ers for can­cer drug need help to ob­tain a Com­mons de­bate

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

A Cam­bus­lang woman who lost her mother to pan­cre­atic can­cer is ap­peal­ing to Re­former read­ers to help se­cure a de­bate in the Com­mons about a po­ten­tially life-ex­tend­ing drug.

Fiona Brown’s world came crash­ing down in 2003 when her mum, Chrissie, died from pan­cre­atic can­cer at the age of just 56.

For the past two years, 35-year-old Fiona has worked tire­lessly to raise aware­ness of the dis­ease and she has al­ready helped se­cure one par­lia­ment de­bate on the is­sue.

Now she and her fel­low cam­paign­ers hope to gain the 100,000 sig­na­tures needed to se­cure a de­bate on Abrax­ane, a revo­lu­tion­ary drug no longer avail­able in Eng­land on the NHS.

They have un­til this Fri­day, March 4, to reach their goal.

For­mer Cathkin High and West Coats Pri­mary pupil, Fiona, said: “Pan­cre­atic can­cer is the fifth big­gest can­cer killer and will be the se­cond by 2020.

“It’s not had the same at­ten­tion as other can­cers and the sta­tis­tics haven’t got any bet­ter in 40 years.

“It shouldn’t be a post­code lot­tery. Abrax­ane is avail­able in Scot­land and Wales, but we need it to be avail­able in Eng­land as well to im­prove our sta­tis­tics and to raise aware­ness.

“On av­er­age, it can help pro­vide an ex­tra two months sur­vival to pan­cre­atic can­cer pa­tients, in some cases even up to two years longer.”

Chrissie was di­ag­nosed with pan­cre­atic can­cer in April 2002. Af­ter un­der­go­ing a dan­ger­ous op­er­a­tion, doc­tors were op­ti­mistic about her chances.

But early in 2003, the can­cer re­turned and she died on March 26 that year, just days be­fore Mother’s Day.

With Mother’s Day tak­ing place this week­end, Fiona, who has since lost an­other fam­ily mem­ber to the dis­ease, ad­mits the mem­ory of her own mum is driv­ing her on: “Yes, ab­so­lutely it’s a mo­ti­va­tion, as is meet­ing other peo­ple that have been af­fected by it.

“It was ac­tu­ally af­ter read­ing a story in the Re­former in 2013 about it that I de­cided to get in­volved. I started look­ing into it.

“At first, if some­one men­tioned it I would just go quiet.”

Fiona, who stays in Half­way, has been a tire­less cam­paigner for Marie Curie over the past few years and she re­mains hope­ful things can im­prove for pan­cre­atic can­cer pa­tients.

The pe­ti­tion on Abrax­ane so far has just 36,000 sig­na­tures, mean­ing a lot of work will need to be done to se­cure the de­bate.

But she said: “It sounds re­ally scary but if we get some mo­men­tum we can do it.

“I’m so de­ter­mined, if you get an early di­ag­no­sis then peo­ple can sur­vive and if this drug can help lengthen peo­ple’s lives then it’s got to be worth it.”

To sup­port the pe­ti­tion, go to http:// pe­ti­tion.par­lia­ment.uk/pe­ti­tions/107388

Happy times Chrissie Brown (cen­tre) passed away in 2003 from pan­cre­atic can­cer, and is pic­tured with hus­band Tom, son Iain and daugh­ter Fiona

Plea Fiona Brown wants peo­ple to sup­port a par­lia­men­tary de­bate

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