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Cancer campaigner hails plan to extend UK treatment fund
David and Samantha Cameron with nine-year-old Scarlett Clarkson and her mother Bryony on the children’s cancer ward at the John Radcliffe Hospital
A CANCER sufferer has welcomed the extension of a national drugs fund he helped set up.
Clive Stone, from Eynsham, said the two-year extension, to 2016, to the cancer drugs fund is “incredible” news.
The fund was set up in 2010 to give fast access to cancer drugs not routinely available on the NHS. Before, local managers made decisions based on guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice).
Mr Stone, 65, was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2007 and defeated Nice to get a life-extending drug, Sunitinib, on the NHS.
The former bank manager then lobbied Mr Cameron to create the fund, to include £15m for a wider range of radiotherapies.
Mr Stone – who has battled 31 brain tumours and was given an MBE for his campaigning – said the extension is “extraordinary”.
He said: “It is incredible news. I can tell you that is a weight off my shoulders. It is what we have been campaigning for.”
He added: “I would like to thank the Oxford Mail and its readers for consistently getting behind the campaign.
“Cancer now affects one in two lives; it may not always kill you these days but it touches an awful lot of people, so to hear this fund has been renewed is amazing.”
After cancer spread to his brain, Mr Stone had five NHS operations but had to pay £30,456 for two brain operations in 2012 and 2013.The fund paid for a July procedure to remove eight brain tumours when cash became available in April.
Mr Cameron met cancer patients at the Oxford hospital with wife Samantha and said 34,000 sufferers had accessed the fund.
Adding total cash committed will finally top £1bn, he said: “When I became Prime Minister three years ago, many patients with rare cancers were being denied lifesaving treatments.
“That is why we created the cancer drugs fund, it is why we are extending it.”
Dr Andrew Protheroe, Churchill Hospital consultant in medical oncology, said: “Before, doctors were not able to use a whole range of drugs which were part of standard practice in other countries. This fantastic announcement means we won’t have to go back to those days.
“I will be able to continue to provide the best treatment possible.”
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