For the past two and a half weeks we have been running a petition urging the Government and NHS decision makers to keep Abraxane on the Cancer Drugs Fund in England, as part of our Two More Months campaign. Thank you to everyone who signed the petition or shared it online: it is because of you that we managed to gather an amazing 2165 signatures in such a short amount of time!
Today, we handed the petition into 10 Downing Street. Our CEO, Alex Ford, led a delegation of those who have experienced directly the damage pancreatic cancer can do: Ann Dennison, a current patient, and her partner David Williams; Doug and Celia Goodman, who lost their daughter Emily to the disease; and Susan Speece, who lost her mother to pancreatic cancer. Thank you to all of them for sharing their stories and for making the trip into London on such a cold and windy morning!
L-R: Iain Stewart MP; Alex Ford; David Williams; Ann Dennison; Doug Goodman; Stephen Metcalfe MP; Susan Speece; Sir Andrew Stunnell MP; Pauline Latham MP; Celia Goodman; Eric Ollerenshaw MP
L-R: Andrew Rosindell MP; Stephen Metcalfe MP, Eric Ollerenshaw MP; Alex Ford
We were also pleased that a number of MPs were able to join us in handing over the petition; weare campaigning for real change for the pancreatic cancer cause and it continues to garner a large amount of political support and goodwill. So a big thank you to Eric Ollerenshaw, who Chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Pancreatic Cancer, and to Sir Andrew Stunnell MP, Pauline Latham MP, Iain Stewart MP, Stephen Metcalfe MP, and Andrew Rosindell MP. Although John Baron MP – who Chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer - was not able to join us due to illness, his Commons staff came over to Downing Street with us to show their support.
L-R: Iain Stewart MP; Stephen Metcalfe MP; Eric Ollerenshaw MP; Pauline Latham MP; Sir Andrew Stunnell MP; Andrew Rosindell MP
We are continuing to make noise as a community. The number of signatures, the size of the delegation and the petition being handed in at 10 Downing Street - the hub of Government – has all helped us draw attention to the fact that Abraxane needs to be kept available for pancreatic cancer patients via the Cancer Drugs Fund.
What happens next?
The Cancer Drugs Fund panel will meet on Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th December to consider which drugs to retain on the CDF list and which to remove. Abraxane is being considered at the Monday meeting and we will be there to see what transpires. The panel will then deliberate and we are not likely to know the outcome of those deliberations until the New Year. As soon as we have any information, we will share it here on our website, as well as on our Twitter and Facebook pages.
Why does it matter?
There are very few treatment options for pancreatic cancer patients. Abraxane represents the first real advance in treatment for nearly two decades. It has been shown, when used in combination with standard chemotherapy, to extend eligible patients’ lives by an average of two months, or in some cases significantly more. Whilst this may not sound like much, when you take into account the average survival time from diagnosis for metastatic pancreatic cancer patients is just 2-6 months, two months represents a significant amount of time: time that a patient can spend with their loved ones. In short, whilst not all patients will be fit enough to qualify for or tolerate the drug regime, ultimately Abraxane will give more patients access to life-extending treatment.
You can read more about our Two More Months Campaign and how we are trying to make sure Abraxane is accessible to all parts of the UK here.