“If you’re going to have cancer, Australia is a wonderful place to live,” said Mark Williams, following Minister for Health Greg Hunt’s announcement this morning at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne.
Beginning 1 December 2018, patients with metastatic bowel cancer (mCRC) will have another treatment option, with the subsidised listing of Lonsurf® (trifluridine with tipiracil) on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
Mr Williams, age 55, has been living with metastatic bowel cancer since 2017.
“I know we talk about ‘hope’, but I’m living proof that these treatments can do a good job,” said Mr Williams who recently began taking Lonsurf®.
Lonsurf® is an oral chemotherapy intended for use by mCRC patients who have been treated previously or are not considered suitable for currently available therapies which work by slowing down the growth and spread of cancer cell.
“This treatment has given me the freedom to be with my family, go to work...to be a human being again,” said Mr Williams.
Beginning Dec 1st, Lonsurf® will be available from community pharmacies with a script from a patient’s oncologist.
Around 885 patients per year will be able to access the medicine, which would cost up to $15,000 per patient without the PBS subsidy.
Mr Williams was joined at the announcement by Bowel Cancer Australia CEO Julien Wiggins, along with his oncologist Professor Peter Gibbs, and other patients and representatives from patient groups who will also benefit from today’s new listings.
“I am fabulous today, not just because of this announcement about a new option for bowel cancer; I’m also excited to see Bowel Cancer Australia here, showing they care,” Mr Williams said.
Bowel Cancer Australia has campaigned for access to affordable quality treatments and the best care for nearly two decades to ensure more people live beyond bowel cancer.
"While Bowel Cancer Australia welcomes today’s announcement, it took two years and multiple submissions to make this sub-subsidised treatment option available, valuable time many metastatic bowel cancer patients simply don’t have," said Mr Wiggins.
To find out if Lonsurf® is appropriate for you, speak with your oncologist.
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