Media pressure leads to u-turn on cancer victim’s drug fight

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The Lincolnshire Free Press and Guardian have helped a woman with terminal cancer win her fight for life-prolonging hospital treatment.

Christine Field’s desperate plight after health chiefs refused to fund the use of a drug which could prolong her life by up to two years was reported in last Thursday’s Guardian.

But Mrs Field (63), of Lutton Garnsgate, Long Sutton, will now have treatment at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn later today after media pressure forced East Midlands Cancer Drugs Fund to reverse its decision.

“It’s like a miracle to me and it’s as if a big black cloud has been lifted from us,” Mrs Field said.

“My head is just in a whirl because we were so despondent before, but now we’ve got the result we wanted and that’s all that matters at this point in time,”

Mrs Field was given only months to live by specialists unless they could use the drug Nab-Paclitaxel in treating her for bone, liver and lung cancer.

The drug costs almost £6,800 and funding for it is available to patients in Cambridgeshire and Norfolk, but not Lincolnshire.

Mrs Field claimed she was the victim of a postcode lottery when her application to the Cancer Drugs Fund was turned down, but a relentless campaign by her family resulted in a change of heart last Thursday.

She said: “We had such a huge response from people who were very supportive and we put so much pressure on the fund panel, so maybe they got fed up with us.

The panel had originally decided that other cancer treatments were available, but they changed their minds when Mrs Field’s specialists argued that such treatments would produce allergic reactions which could prove fatal.

Dr Peter Miller, Associate Medical Director of NHS Midlands and East, said: “Mrs Field’s case is complex and upon re-examination of her consultant’s submission, we have now agreed the funding for her treatment.”