Minister for Health Sussan Ley has announced that breast and lung Cancer patients will have affordable access to life-changing medicines that normally cost up to $80,000 for treatment starting July 1, 2015. Patients will now just pay $6.10 (concessional) or $37.70 (general) for breakthrough lung cancer medicine Crizotinib and breast cancer treatments Perjeta, Herceptin and Kadcyla as a result of their official listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. This is another example of the Abbott Government delivering its promise to list new medicines as quickly as possible.
One in every six dollars out of the $10 billion taxpayers invest in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme every year is now spent on cancer treatments. This investment will deliver affordable access to patients who would otherwise pay up to $80,000 for these life-saving treatments to beat breast and lung cancers. The Abbott Government has now more-than-doubled the number of new and amended drug listings on the PBS to over 660 – worth almost $3 billion in total since September 2013.
Perjeta, Herceptin and Kadcyla were used to treat HER2-positive metastic breast cancer and would benefit 590 patients per year. Kadcyla provides an additional line of therapy where the disease has progressed despite previous treatment, while the combination of Perjeta and Herceptin would provide a more effective treatment option for this cancer than Herceptin alone. Crizotinib (Xalkori®) was used to treat anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive non-small cell lung cancer and would benefit approximately 154 patients with the rare life-threatening disease. Crizotinib will be listed through a Managed Entry Scheme that will speed up access for patients with the highest need for treatment.
Wound-healing cells of the immune system influences skin cancer
Published: 01 July 2015
Skin cancer could be made worse following a minimally invasive surgery where all cancer tissue cannot be removed, the wound inflammatory response might influence the remaining cancer cells in the body. A study of zebrafish showed that neutrophils, the protective inflammatory cells of the body’s immune system which are important for healing wounds can cause the progression of skin cancer. Neutrophils are usurped by precancerous skin cells that lead to tumour cells in the zebrafish model experiment. The cellular events were observed by live imaging with a special confocal laser-scanning microscope.
Researches detected high levels of neutrophils in human tissue samples of skin cancers from people whose tumours had open ulcers. The presence of neutrophils was linked to poor patient survival. They suggest that therapies to reduce inflammation following surgery could help to improve result.
The experiment helps to understand how the immune cells are interacting with cancer cells. This will help to devise therapies to reduce the risk of cancer cells that are left after surgery from forming new tumours and spreading.
Female lung cancer cases top 20,000 in the UK
Published: 01 July 2015
Lung cancer cases in women have reached 20,000 a year in the UK for the first time since records began. Women diagnosed with lung cancer continue to rise. Lung cancer rate in the female population has risen by 22% or 65 cases per 100,000 people. About 24,000 men are diagnosed with lung cancer each year, which makes it the second most common cancer for both sexes.
Lung cancer claims the lives of 35,000 people each year. Just 10% of people live for five years after diagnosis compared with breast and prostate cancer which has more than 80% survival rate. The survival rate remains poor primarily because lung cancer tends to be diagnosed at a late stage when the cancer has already spread.
Cancer Research UK is doing efforts to tackle lung cancer as key priorities in its research strategy. A new biopsy technique uses magnets to capture rogue cancer cells in the patient’s blood – which could provide vital information on the biology of the disease and help improve treatment. Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer in the UK so they are urging the government and health services to help smoker quit by providing more stop smoking services to help people give up smoking addiction.
News sourced from: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-33335797