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#KeepYourPromise Campaign

written by

Leukaemia Care, Charity

  • Katherine Sinfeild

Katherine Sinfield was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) in April 2013 following a visit to the accident and emergency department at her local hospital. By this point she was already in an advanced stage of the disease, blast crisis phase, so the drug imatinib (Glivec®) failed to work for more than a few weeks. This resulted in her undergoing a gruelling schedule of chemotherapy and radiotherapy before having a stem cell transplant in October 2013. Post-transplant, she remains on nilotinib (Tasigna®).

Since her diagnosis, Katherine has campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness of blood cancers and the importance of early diagnosis, encouraging people to sign up to the bone marrow register, taking part in fundraising initiatives for blood cancer charities and petitioning Government with regards to new ideas and requests for change.

Katherine Sinfield has asked us to share with you the ‘Keep Your Promise’ petition, which aims to halt the current de-listing of drugs from the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF).

In 2010 David Cameron pledged that “…if your doctor thinks that you should have a cancer drug that will help you to live a longer and better life you should get that drug.” In order to fulfil this election pledge, the Cancer Drugs Fund was introduced, which has enabled over 50,000 cancer patients in England to access life-extending treatments which are not routinely available via the NHS in England.

The Cancer Drugs Fund was set up to fund drugs that had not been approved by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence). This may be because they were either: yet to be assessed, currently undergoing assessment or had been assessed and determined to be effective but not cost-effective.

To reduce the financial costs of the Cancer Drugs Fund, a number of the drugs currently on the approved list for funding have recently been reassessed, with a cost-effectiveness measure included within the Cancer Drugs Fund for the first time. The results of this reassessment were released earlier this month, which included the removal of sixteen life-extending drugs (used in twenty-five indications) from the approved funding list. These new and innovative treatments have the potential to offer patients more time with their families and an improvement in their quality of life, yet patients will now be unable to access them. A summary of how the changes will affect blood cancer patients from March 2015 is available here.

As part of this campaign a petition has been launched, with the aim of reaching 100,000 signatures to attract the attention of the Prime Minister. The campaign urges him to fulfil his election pledge to provide access to these treatments, by halting the de-listing of treatments from the Cancer Drugs Fund until a more sustainable solution can be agreed. If this process is not halted, thousands of cancer patients will be unable to access the treatments they need. This will condemn them to an early death and deny them the opportunity to improve their quality of life.

The campaign aims to get David Cameron to act to fulfil his election pledge, but to do this they need your help! We urge you to sign the petition here and to share it with others via social media using the hashtag ‘#keepyourpromise’.