A regional journalist has welcomed health chiefs’ decision to let skin cancer patients like his father benefit from new treatment for the disease.
Bruno Clements, web editor for Newsquest’s titles in Wiltshire, has applauded the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (Nice) approval of combination therapy for people with melanoma that has spread around the body.
The powerful newly-approved combination of drugs called Opdivo and Yervoy can stall progression of advanced melanoma by an average of eight months compared with standard treatment, and have been found to wipe out tumours in around a fifth of patients.
Around 1,300 people could be eligible for the immunotherapy drugs every year, in one of the fastest drug appraisals carried out by Nice.
Bruno’s father Jeff, 82, was diagnosed with lung cancer which resulted from skin cancer last summer.
Now living in Holland, he was treated with Yervoy by the Dutch health service and has made a full recovery.
He said: “Last year we were preparing for the worst and yet now he has a completely new lease of life.
“There was no doubt that my dad, who was losing weight dramatically last year, would have died by now without treatment.
“Instead he was well enough to fly over earlier this year so, appropriately, we popped in to the Steam museum [in Swindon] – and one or two pubs to toast his health as well.”
His father added: “Only this week I’ve been told that 100 per cent of the symptoms are gone thanks to the Yervoy and I don’t have to have another scan for six months.
“I was told that the combination treatment could be tried if Yervoy wasn’t successful but I was one of the success stories, thank goodness.
“I’m very impressed with my treatment by the Dutch health service and I’m delighted that these treatments are now available in England and Wales now.”