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Give breast cancer patients a break

Dr Jackie Blue National Party Associate Health Spokeswoman

11 April 2006

Give breast cancer patients a break

Auckland DHB has denied a woman diagnosed with early stage Her2 breast cancer assistance by not allowing her to have the cancer drug Herceptin, which she is paying for, administered at the public hospital, says National Party Associate Health spokeswoman Dr Jackie Blue.

"The answer she received wasn't an outright 'no', but ADHB chair Wayne Brown has said that agreeing to the request would set a precedent that would open the floodgates," says Dr Blue.

"He has said that if all 140 women with early stage Her2 breast cancer in Auckland wanted treatment at the hospital, it would need an extra 2500 clinical hours.

"By my reckoning this equates to around one extra full-time equivalent clinical appointment, and because staff already administer Herceptin to women with advanced breast cancer, they are familiar with the management and monitoring of the drug.

"This breast cancer patient has calculated that it would cost her $1800 per hour to have Herceptin administrated in private, and has offered to pay any public hospital administration costs.

"This woman has had enough.

"After facing surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and then turning herself inside out to raise the money needed for Herceptin, she now has to battle the bureaucracy.

"This woman, and other early stage breast cancer patients, desperately need a break," says Dr Blue.

ENDS

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