Advanced breast cancer with metastases in the liver
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001, at the age of 33. I had a lumpectomy, a six month course of chemotherapy (FEC, eight cycles) and six weeks of radiation.
Unfortunately, my cancer recurred within a year of finishing the initial treatment, with metastases found in my liver and left hip. Since that time until May 2007, my treatment was managed with a number of hormone based drugs and then in the May of 2007 I had a further course of chemotherapy (Taxotere, eight cycles). It was during the chemotherapy treatment that AVASTIN (BEVACIZUMAB) started to be administered (June 2007), initially in tandem with the chemotherapy and then used as ongoing maintenance for my condition.
How did the fund help me?
AVASTIN is not routinely funded by the NHS. After an initial rejection for funding by my then Primary Care Trust (PCT), I self funded the treatment for two years. After two years, I simply could not afford to continue with the treatment. Having moved, I approached the Primary Care Trust in my local area for Single Patient Treatment Funding.
Applying for such funding is a complicated, long process and can be very daunting for a patient.
The Pamela Northcott Fund provided me with information on how my consultant should complete any documents required by the PCT in support of my case, and also how I should approach the PCT with supporting statements.
It is very important for a patient and the medical team treating him or her to understand exactly what the PCT is looking for, and the Fund has experts in this area who, with their past experience of appeals, can help to provide that information.
Not only that, but when things don’t go smoothly with either the PCT or the hospital where you are receiving treatment, the Fund was on hand to provide both background support and importantly, where needed, frontline support.
After a six month process, I was fortunate to receive funding from my PCT – something that I believe would not have happened without the help and support of the Fund. It has meant that I have been able to continue to live a full and active life on this new drug without yet resorting to further chemotherapies.