Cancer: New drug that can ‘double’ life expectancy approved on the NHS
The new drug, durvalumab, enables patients to survive for “twice as long with the disease” says the NHS. The NHS announced earlier this week that the drug can “double the overall time someone can survive with an aggressive form of lung cancer from two and a half to five years”. According to Cancer Research UK, just 10 percent of patients survive lung cancer for more than a decade after diagnosis. However, while one of the deadliest, lung cancer is one of the most preventable.
Nevertheless, the news of the approval of durvalumab on the NHS means thousands of patients with the condition could be granted extra time with their loved ones.
In a statement, the NHS said: “The new treatment will be offered to more than 550 patients a year with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer who have already undergone both chemotherapy and radiotherapy currently.
“The drug is given to patients every four weeks and only takes an hour to administer.”
Non-small-cell lung cancer is the most common form of lung cancer.
National Cancer Director for NHS England, Dame Cally Palmer, said of the news: “We are resolute in our ambition to fight the devastating effects of cancer and new pioneering treatments like durvalumab are a vital lifeline for people living with cancer.
“Most of us know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer and it can affect people of all walks of life.
“The NHS has continued to priorities cancer care throughout the pandemic and I urge anyone with concerns about symptoms they might be experiencing to come forward without delay and get checked.”
Dame Palmer highlights in her statement how, despite the weight of Covid, the NHS has been doing what it can to continue cancer treatment for the thousands of people affected by the disease.
In response to the news Health Secretary Sajid Javid wrote: “This is yet another example of how the NHS is pioneering innovative treatments to give cancer patients the best possible care and more time with loved ones.
“We continue to improve outcomes for cancer patients across England and our upcoming 10-year Cancer Plan will set out how we will lad Europe in cancer care.”
Earlier this year Javid announced a 10-year War on Cancer.
As part of this war, the Government will invest in new treatments and diagnostic tools so more cancers can be treated with greater efficaciousness.
Meanwhile, lung cancer remains a deleterious foe.
Symptoms of the condition, say the NHS, are:
• A cough that doesn’t go away after two or three weeks
• A long-standing cough that gets worse
• Chest infections that keep coming back
• Coughing up blood
• An ache or pain when breathing or coughing
• Persistent breathlessness
• Persistent tiredness or lack of energy
• Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss
The NHS says a person should see their GP if they have any of these symptoms.
Lung cancer, like other cancers, can have a number of causes.
In the case of lung cancer, the main cause is smoking with the lifestyle habit accounting for more than 70 percent of cases.
Smoking is a risk factor for several cancers as well as lung cancer.
However, because smoking is very difficult to quit, there are numerous resources for those who wish to kick the nicotine hit.
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