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Kidney cancer drug fight

6th March 2008

A local health board in Wales has said it will not pay for treatment for a man suffering from kidney cancer.

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Jocelyn Hall, who is aged 60, from Tonna, Neath, will take the LHB to court following its descision not to fund treatment with Sunitinib.

He received the diagnosis of kidney cancer in September 2006. Mr Hall's tumour had already become secondary and the cancer was present in other parts of his body.

Mr Hall's doctor at Swansea's Singleton Hospital, Professor John Wagstaff, stated that the drugs he needed to treat the cancer cost £2,300 and were required every six weeks.

He said: "I've got a number of patients in exactly the same situation, not just with Neath Port Talbot but with other LHBs in south west Wales."

Professor Wagstaff described the situation as a "battle" and added that if Mr Hall did not receive the medication: "the only management available to him is to control his symptoms."

Mr Hall's sister, Rosemarie Snow, said the treatment would not cure him but would extend his life and allow him "to enjoy his retirement."

Neath Port Talbot LHB's spokeswoman said she was unable to comment due to privacy laws.

She added that the LHB had taken guidance from the the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group. The group advises that Sumitinib should not be used in the country.

"Our policy allows us to consider information from an individual that makes them an exception to that broad statement," she said.


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