Page last updated at 14:19 GMT, Wednesday, 5 May 2010 15:19 UK

Scrubbing Up: Your Comments

In this week's Scrubbing Up, cancer expert Professor Jane Maher warns that with ever increasing pressure on NHS budgets patients with rarer cancers may be being squeezed out of the system.

Here are some of the comments you have been sending in response to her article.


My late husband had oesophageal cancer and was refused funding for treatment. We managed by hook and by crook to get the money together for private treatment, but they messed us about for so long he ran out of time and died very quickly afterwards. When the powers that be asked if I wanted to know why they had refused funding I told them I didn't care.
Jane, England

My mother has been recently diagnosed with mucosal melanoma. Yesterday she was put on a trial for a new drug that they are developing. She was very lucky to get on it as they were looking for patients with a certain mutation in their genes called C-Kit. Should this prove to be successful she may get to live a longer, fuller life than she might have done with just chemo or radiotherapy.
Tara, Bedfordshire

My father has cancer in his kidney, bones and lungs. He lives in Manningtree and was lucky enough to qualify for a new drug only approved in February 2009. As it is so advanced this drug is his last chance - but at least he gets that chance. It is disgusting that if he lived in another postcode he may not have had this chance!
Angela Bloom, Cambridge

This is a very emotive subject but please remember this is the National Health Service which has to balance the survival of a premature baby against the treatment of someone else's mother with cancer. If people didn't waste time and resources on silly calls to ambulance crews perhaps the budget could stretch further. It's all the same money people!
Jeannette, Wales

This may sound very cruel - but don't some of these "life prolonging" drugs prolong life by a matter of months at most? I would rather see the NHS put more money into improving palliative care services, which are currently very patchy in some areas, than forking out millions of pounds for a select group of people to fight their diseases to the bitter end. In addition, some new cancer drugs don't yet have the evidence base to warrant their use. If the NHS allowed the use of any drug "on the off chance" that it might work, then we would still be funding homeopathy.
Anna, Manchester

Several years ago I was told that I had a benign lump on my kidney. Nothing more was said or done until about four years ago when I was put on drugs for high cholesterol. These caused problems with my liver. I was monitored through blood tests for several months by a trainee doctor who decided that I'd better have a scan as the tests kept showing problems with the liver, despite having stopped taking the tablets. This scan showed the "benign" lump on my kidney again but nothing wrong with the liver. I was referred to the hospital for further tests which showed that I had kidney cancer. My kidney was removed, and I have nothing but praise for the consultants and other hospital staff. I was told subsequently that the lump was indeed cancerous but following another scan that I was all right. That was three years ago. Since then I haven't been given any information on what I should do to prevent something happening to my left kidney. It was only recently following prostate problems that the department have decided to have a follow up scan and tests in six months. Given that many people die within five years of having kidney cancer I'm left wondering whether I'll be one of them or whether I'll have a bit more time. I'm grateful for what the doctors did and they certainly saved my life, but sometimes I feel as if I'm stuck in limbo.
Dave, Middlesbrough

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