Health insurance patients could have access to a new cancer drug that has been hailed ‘one of the biggest advances’ in breast cancer treatment in years, after it has been rolled out for use in the UK.
In July 2012, the European Commission approved new drug everolimus (marketed as Afinitor) for use in combination with exemestane to treat certain postmenopausal women with advanced breast cancer.
Now the drug has been launched for use throughout the UK. Recently released trial results of Afinitor have led to experts hailing it one of the biggest advances in breast cancer treatment in years. Professor Stephen Johnston of The Royal Marsden Hospital in London said:
"Everolimus has the potential to redefine the way this common form of advanced breast cancer is treated, and importantly offers women an effective alternative to a chemotherapy regime".
Afinitor has been trialled in combination with another drug called exemestane. In the latest trial, those given a dummy pill and exemestane had their tumour growth stalled by 3.2 months on average.
However, those given Afinitor and exemestane had a stalled tumour growth of 7.8 months.
Rather than blocking cancer cells from taking up oestrogen or lowering hormone levels- a process that cancer cells can become resistant to- Afinitor works by targeting other proteins in the cancer cell which control how it works and grows.
Afinitor is available for private prescription in the UK, meaning patients with health insurance could have access to it on their policy. The drug is priced at £2,970 +VAT for a 30 day pack of 10mg tablets.
However, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) will have to review the drug before it is made widely available on the NHS, a process which could take years.
Dr Rachel Greig, of the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said the drug was an exciting development. She said: “Everolimus is one of the biggest advances in breast cancer treatment in many years.
“While this is by no means a cure, it could give patients several extra months of good quality of life with their families."
If you want access to cancer drugs like Afinitor on your health insurance, look for a policy with full cancer cover with cover for licensed cancer drugs and treatments.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012