Thousands of breast cancer patients could see the amount of time they spend in hospital cut down dramatically as NHS England begins to roll out a new injection treatment across the country.
The new combined treatment, called PHESGO, is injected and takes a little as five minutes to prepare and administer, compared to previous treatments which saw patients receive two infusions which could take up to two and a half hours.
More than 3,600 new patients a year will benefit from the treatment, as well as others who will switch from their current treatment to the new single injection.
The PHESGO treatment is being rolled out after the NHS struck a deal with the treatment’s manufacturer.
As part of its rollout, the five-minute injection will be offered to eligible patients with HER2-positive breast cancer, which accounts for 15% of all breast cancers.
It can be given alongside chemotherapy or on its own.
By reducing the amount of time patients are spending in hospital, the new five-minute injected treatment also significantly cuts the Covid-19 infection risk for patients, as well as freeing up time for clinicians in chemotherapy units.
The NHS England announcement formed the latest in a series of cancer care innovations introduced during the pandemic, including Covid-secure surgery hubs and a £160m investment in ‘Covid-friendly’ cancer drugs, as part of efforts to minimise the growing backlogs to cancer treatment due to the past 12 months.
NHS National Clinical Director for Cancer, Professor Peter Johnson, said: “The NHS has continued to adopt new treatments rapidly throughout the pandemic, to improve cancer care for patients. This new injection, which can substantially cut treatment time for people with breast cancer, is the latest in a series of changes which have meant the NHS has been able to deliver vital cancer treatment while keeping patients safe from Covid.
“I am delighted that this is now available to people having breast cancer treatment, limiting the time they need to spend in hospital and giving the NHS another way to continue treating as many cancer patients as possible, as we have done throughout the pandemic.”
Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, added: “Approval of PHESGO being used on the NHS in England is fantastic news as thousands of women with HER2 positive breast cancer will now benefit from a quicker and kinder treatment method.
“Reducing the time patients need to spend in hospital, this more efficient treatment method also promises to free up precious time for healthcare professionals when the NHS is already under unprecedented strain due to Covid-19.
“Today’s announcement reflects the latest of continued advances in breast cancer treatment, and now we hope to see Roche and NHS decision-makers working together to ensure PHESGO is rapidly made available across all of the UK so that even more patients and healthcare professionals alike can reap its benefits.”