Woman’s plea for rethink on cancer drug funding

Lisa Brydon who was diagnosed with brain tumours last year
Lisa Brydon who was diagnosed with brain tumours last year
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A woman given 12 months to live after she was diagnosed with aggressive brain tumours has issued a plea to NHS bosses to think again after they refused to pay for a drug which is prolonging her life.

Lisa Brydon, 43, has already paid £21,000 since July for the drug Avastin but she and her husband are rapidly running out of cash and are warning they face selling their home near Pontefract to fund once fortnightly infusions.

Avastin has been previously given to several dozen brain tumour patients in Yorkshire by the Government’s Cancer Drugs Fund but funding was axed following the NHS re-organisation.

An application from her specialist at St James’s Hospital, in Leeds, has been rejected despite evidence the drug is improving her condition, as well as saving the NHS money by reducing her need for other medication.

She said: “I feel aggrieved that I’ve paid for my own mini-trial to see if this drug will work. I’ve shown it has worked and is working and nobody is listening to us.”

Her husband Jack Carter, 66, who she married last year shortly after her diagnosis, said: “We just want a bit of help really. Lisa’s future is dependent on the drug. The infusions are costing £2,900 per cycle so the financial implications are massive.”

The couple, who are being backed by their MP Nigel Adams, describe her treatment as “fantastic”, with NHS staff trying “very, very hard on our behalf”.

A spokesman from NHS England, which operates the fund, said it was unable to comment on individual cases.

He said: “We have to make very difficult decisions about which cancer drugs to fund and this means carefully scrutinising all available evidence on their effectiveness.”

Tanya Skelly. Picture: Adrian Murray

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