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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 September 2006, 11:30 GMT 12:30 UK
Cancer man's Senedd NHS protest
Prostate cancer patient David Powell
Mr Powell was eventually given NHS brachytherapy in Leeds
A man fighting for prostate cancer patients in Wales to be offered the same treatment available in England has taken his campaign to the assembly.

David Powell, 54, from Barry, was helped by Jayne Sullivan, who lobbied for the breast cancer drug, Herceptin, to be made available on the NHS.

They displayed a giant version of a memo from Health Commission Wales (HCW) outside the Senedd debating chamber.

HCW said it cannot fund every treatment available and had to make choices.

It said brachytherapy, a treatment for prostate cancer, was not within its budget, and there were other effective treatments available.

Simon Dean
We have to make choices and we have to think about when we can make treatments available
Simon Dean, Health Commission Wales

In August, HCW instructed consultants to stop offering the treatment, which is a form of radiation therapy.

Brachytherapy involves a radioactive seed being injected directly into the prostate. It takes just one visit to hospital compared to weeks of radiotherapy and does not carry the same risks as surgery.

Father-of-two Mr Powell said his oncologist told him it would be the most effective form of treatment when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in January.

But he said he was later told by HCW that his treatment would not be funded.

'Treatment option'

HCW then said six patients who were to have brachytherapy had since been authorised for treatment. Mr Powell was given NHS brachytherapy treatment in Leeds.

He is now campaigning for the treatment to be given to all men in Wales who are recommended it.

He said: "I think it's absolutely disgusting that they're telling us because we're Welsh we can't have this treatment.

"We can't allow that to happen which is why we're taking this to the assembly."

Jayne Sullivan
Jayne Sullivan will take part in the protest outside the Senedd

He called on assembly members to question health minister Brian Gibbons on the issue.

He was by Jayne Sullivan, who campaigned for the breast cancer drug Herceptin to be made available on the NHS.

Speaking about the HCW memo, Ms Sullivan said: "This correspondence shouldn't have been sent out. We want brachytherapy treatment re-commissioned for Welsh patients."

But HCW chief executive Simon Dean said that resources would always be finite.

He said: "We all want all the possible things that could benefit us now, but we're not going to be able to keep pace with that speed of development.

"We have to make choices and we have to think about when we can make treatments available - it might not be today, it might be tomorrow - it might be next year.

"And we have to make those choices across the wide range of services that we are responsible for."


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"They're telling us because we're Welsh we can't have this treatment"



SEE ALSO
Wales: Cancer campaign
17 Feb 06 |  Politics Show

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