Cancer Research UK calls for cancer care review

In collaboration with the Press Association

Cancer Research UK has repeated its calls for a review of the NHS Cancer Plan after doctors said the cost of new drugs means they will have to rebalance priorities. The doctors, from the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital and the University of East Anglia, made the warning on the cost of breast-cancer drug Herceptin in the British Medical Journal. They calculated the cost of offering Herceptin to the estimated 75 suitable patients a year would be £1.9 million, or £2.3 million including testing and monitoring. "It is essential that cancer patients are offered the most appropriate treatment available to give them their best chance of survival," said Cancer Research UK's medical director Professor John Toy. "The introduction of many new high cost drugs certainly poses a challenge to the NHS budget, which is by no means bottomless. The cost of cancer care is certain to continue to rise in the coming years. "We have called on the government to produce an updated cancer plan to address these, and other, challenges. "It's not fair for doctors and hospitals to have to decide what treatment or services should be cut to make ends meet. And most importantly it's totally unacceptable for any patient who might not receive the best treatment available."