'The enemy is cancer'

PUBLISHED: 08:16 07 May 2008 | UPDATED: 21:48 15 June 2010

A FORMER local government officer is taking up a fellow cancer sufferer's fight for treatment, after being moved to tears by an article in the Herald.

A FORMER local government officer is taking up a fellow cancer sufferer's fight for treatment, after being moved to tears by an article in the Herald.Alan Appleby, of Honey Ditches Drive, Seaton, said he was upset after reading of Kilmington resident Leslie Talbot-Thompson's fight for a potentially life-prolonging drug. The NHS has refused treatment - Mr Talbot-Thompson's last hope.Mr Appleby, 73, a former senior civil servant in London, is now lobbying to get the refusal decision reversed. He is calling for a cancer care conference to take place with representatives from Devon Primary Care Trust, local MPs and cancer charities to tackle the issue of "postcode lottery" treatment."I was extremely emotional and upset by his case," he said. "It's just the tip of the iceberg - there are many people like him. He has a right to live and I will continue his struggle."The government is wasting money on wars when the real enemy is cancer. It's an epidemic - there are 200 different forms of it, and one in three of us will contract some form of cancer during our lifetime."This is not a subject which can be contained by postal debate."Mr Appleby is currently promoting his idea for a cancer conference through County Hall, Exeter. A list of proposed delegates includes MP Hugo Swire, health minister Ben Bradshaw, cancer charity FORCE and a few selected cancer patients.Having had tumours removed from his bowel, liver and abdomen, and currently applying to the PCT for use of a drug called Cetuximab, Mr Appleby understands what Mr Talbot-Thompson is going through. However, as an ex serviceman, he said the government has a "moral obligation" to offer him treatment. He is campaigning for political parties to examine more effective ways of funding the treatment of cancer.In the meantime, he feels Mr Talbot-Thompson, 58, should take refuge in knowing people are sympathetic to his case.

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