A CAMPAIGN led by a terminally-ill Barrhead mum which resulted in a revolutionary drug being made available on the NHS has been commended at Westminster.
The efforts of Lesley Graham were praised by East Renfrewshire MP Kirsten Oswald after the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) approved Kadcyla for use for the first time.
Ms Oswald paid tribute to the process Lesley, 39, set in motion over a year ago by urging health chiefs to make the secondary breast cancer treatment readily accessible to all Scots who need it.
The former childminder’s fight began last April when doctors told her she had between four and six months to live.
Despite initially being refused Kadcyla due to costs, Lesley’s relentless pursuit led to NHS bosses agreeing to grant her access to the £15,000-per-bout wonder drug.
As a result, Kadcyla has stabilised the HER2 positive breast cancer which spread to her brain, liver and ribs.
Now Neilston-born Lesley has played her part in ensuring Scottish breast cancer sufferers will be given access to second-line treatment that can extend lives by six months and, in some cases, even longer.
Speaking in parliament, Ms Oswald said: “I am pleased the SMC have decided to make Kadcyla available to women in Scotland.
“This treatment is a lifeline for people living with breast cancer, giving patients precious extra time with their loved ones.
“The Scottish Government and the SMC aim to stop breast cancer deaths in Scotland by 2050 and this announcement plays a big part in progressing towards that.
“These reforms are focused on putting patients and their families first.
“The women who led the ‘Unlock Kadcyla’ campaign have shown great courage and determination.
“I am pleased that their voices have been heard and that the SMC will now make Kadcyla available, improving the lives of women all over Scotland now and in the future.”
The SMC’s landmark decision will see more than 100 Scottish women battling breast cancer benefit from Kadcyla every year.
More than 4,600 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Scotland each year.
The disease is responsible for about 1,000 deaths annually.
Kadcyla specifically targets cancerous cells and leaves healthy cells untouched, causing fewer side effects than other treatment options.
Tom Arthur, MSP for Renfrewshire South, also welcomed the SMC’s announcement.
He said: “This is great news that will be welcomed by many across Scotland. This drug can make a very real difference.”