Cancer drug decision 'too little, too late'

PUBLISHED: 15:41 10 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:59 15 June 2010

A FORMER local government officer has criticised the approval of a life-prolonging kidney cancer drug as too little, too late", following the death of a Kilmington man.

A FORMER local government officer has criticised the approval of a life-prolonging kidney cancer drug as "too little, too late", following the death of a Kilmington man.Alan Applebee, of Honey Ditches Drive, Seaton, campaigned for fellow cancer sufferer Leslie Thompson-Talbot to get funding for Sunitinib. But the father-of-four died on January 20, after suffering with renal cell carcinoma since 2002.The Herald reported in March last year how Mr Talbot, from The Street, was refused his only hope of slowing the progression of cancer - due to 'postcode lottery' prescribing.Only last week the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) announced that now it is recommending the use of the drug as a 'first-line treatment' for advanced renal cancer.Mr Applebee, whose wife recently died of a brain tumour, said: "It's completely disgraceful and appalling that the poor man was denied treatment. It's unacceptable that he did not get the medical treatment and died as a result."Mr Applebee, 73, who has had tumours removed from his bowel, liver and abdomen, lobbied to get the refusal decision reversed for Mr Talbot. "Very few people protest about it - until they're personally hit," he said. "But for Leslie and others like him, it's too little too late."As Sunitinib can only extend life for up to 12 months, it was originally rejected last year, along with three other kidney cancer drugs - Avastin, Nexavar and Torisel.


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