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Last Updated: Friday, 9 June 2006, 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK
Campaigner welcomes drug decision
Jayne Sullivan

A cancer campaigner has welcomed news that Herceptin is to be made more widely available on the NHS.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) will approve the drug's use in the early stages of breast cancer from next month.

Jayne Sullivan, 47, from Cardiff, held a vigil at the National Assembly to try to urge Herceptin to be made available to everyone, wherever they live.

She has since become involved in campaigning for other cancer drugs.

Herceptin has been shown to benefit women with HER2 positive breast cancer - around 20% of all breast cancer cases.

Ms Sullivan, from Cardiff, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2005 believes the availability of Herceptin on the NHS is "wonderful news".

The mother-of-two attributed the development to public and media pressure.

She said: "The original date was in 2007 - what we've managed to achieve is probably to save in the region of 4,000 to 5,000 lives - because we've pushed and pushed until we've bought the date forward."

Ms Sullivan underwent surgery and chemotherapy and she will continue taking Herceptin until at least next February.

"In my own case my chances of being cancer free in five years time rose from 60% to 85% when I took Herceptin," she said.

She spent seven nights at the assembly building because she said she was "disgusted" that some patients under the same oncologists as her were unable to have Herceptin prescribed to them because they lived in a different area.

She started her campaign on 1 February against what she called the postcode lottery - meaning some women in Wales had access to the drug and others did not.

However fatigued Ms Sullivan feels while undergoing treatment, she says she intends to keep fighting and is going to get well.

Before her diagnosis and treatment for cancer, Ms Sullivan, worked as a project manager with children with behavioural difficulties.

"Today marks a major step forward for those patients battling for Herceptin"

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