|This is a serious but simple request to ask you to help to fast track the new cancer drug: Herceptin.|
It's quite unusual for me to do this sort of thing but I'm asking you to please take the time to read this and, hopefully, to do your bit by signing the Campaign Petition and encouraging at least 14 of your friends or rellies to sign too.
Please send the completed petition page(s) to :
Woori Yallock PO
Victoria, Australia 3139.
Herceptin Campaign Petition (Word .doc 34k)
I became aware of this situation recently in relation to a couple of dear friends both of whom have the HER-2 positive type of breast cancer - a potentially particularly nasty one.
Last week there was front page news in one of our local papers about a petition that has been started by a local Emerald woman Lynda Sharp. She is quite desperate to get the drug Herceptin made available to her sister, Maree Bissels, who is a Yarra Valley local with a rapidly growing form of breast cancer called HER-2 positive.
If you would like to read the article please go to: www.starnewsgroup.com.au/story/5378. My poor fingers can't reproduce it all but if you'd prefer the abridged version below it will hopefully be enough to get you enthused to help:
At the moment Herceptin, in its early clinical trials in Australia, and according to the article and my understanding from other sources, is only currently being prescribed to people with terminal cancer. The drug costs $A70,000 a year but no money is budgeted for its inclusion on the PBS register until 2008.
Maree's oncologists have told her that her best chance to ensure no further cancers develop is Herceptin. But the problem facing Maree and other sufferers of the HER-2 positive type of breast cancer is the cost.
In May the National Breast Cancer Centre (NBCC) announced that three preliminary international trials found that Herceptin significantly decreased the risk of breast cancer coming back in women with HER-2 positive early stage breast cancer. The director of the NBCC said the results provided information about a potential additional tool in the treatment of the 25% of women with this more aggressive type of early breast cancer. She said "these important new findings will improve our ability to tailor treatment for women with breast cancer..................."
The prime minister and federal health minister are in discussion with the drug's manufacturer Roche.
As some of you will know, many moons ago, I trained as a chaplain at the Peter McCallum Cancer Institute. I was the chaplain of the breast ward for a year. Sadly, I think almost all of us know women who have fought this ghastly battle and lost.
Herceptin appears to have the potential to greatly increase the chances of radically improving the odds for a significant proportion of women who have the HER-2 positive type of breast cancer.
I currently have two friends in need of this drug NOW!
Both have the HER-2 positive type of breast cancer. Marion is now eligible to receive Herceptin straight away as having gone through two very gruelling lots of chemo and radiation treatment with nothing like enough "time off for good behaviour" in-between, her cancer is now judged to be further down the "nasty" track so she is eligible for treatment with Herceptin without paying $A70,000. However, Kym, a working nurse with two kids at university, one still at secondary school and a husband with an ordinary job has a recent diagnosis of the HER-2 positive type of breast cancer that also has some lymph node involvement. She can only have Herceptin if she and her family can come up with $A70,000. That's the same for Maree, the lady in the newspaper article.
I really believe we can make a difference. Please sign the attached Campaign Petition and encourage at least 14 of your friends and relatives to do the same. I hope you will not think this is a lot to ask.
More info sources
Herceptin.com - HER2+ Metastatic Breast Cancer Treatment - www.herceptin.com
Herceptin® (Trastuzumab) is the only FDA-approved therapeutic for HER2 protein overexpressing metastatic breast cancer. Herceptin is a therapy for women with metastatic breast cancer whose tumors have too much HER2 protein. For patients with this disease, Herceptin is approved for first-line use in combination with paclitaxel, and as a single agent for those who have received one or more chemotherapy regimens.
Herceptin - Metastatic Breast Cancer treatment
Herceptin is the approved antibody for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer for patients whose tumors overexpress the HER2 protein and who have not ...
HERCEPTIN News Stories from around the world.
Herceptin Support Groups