British Liver Trust campaigning for better cancer treatments to be made available.

Posted on: 10th March 2020

The British Liver Trust has joined forces with other health charities to call for improved access to innovative cancer therapies for patients.

Death rates from liver cancer have soared by around 50% in the last decade. Unfortunately, liver cancer is extremely difficult to treat as patients often have underlying liver disease that must be treated alongside the cancer. There are very few treatment options and only 12% of patients survive for five years.

Innovative new cancer drugs are made available to patients through the Cancer Drugs Fund. However, other emerging ground-breaking cancer treatments such as ablation or embolisation ‘technologies’ are not included.

A positive impact

Many of these treatments are currently available across Europe, the USA and Canada. However, patients in the UK are missing out. As cancer diagnosis rates increase, the methods of treatments have become more diverse. Innovative cancer treatments like radiotherapy are having a positive impact on the lives of patients.

Health charities, oncologists and other clinicians are calling for access to these types of treatment to be made available through a new ‘Innovative Cancer Care Fund’. The creation of an Innovative Cancer Care Fund with a long-term commitment to funding treatments would enable more patients to benefit from and access innovative treatments, with the potential to produce better outcomes.

Government’s Cancer Strategy

Professor Abid Suddle, a consultant from Kings College Hospital NHS Trust, said: “For some patients, these types of interventional oncology treatments are the most clinically appropriate option and they need to be a key part of the Government’s Cancer Strategy.

"It is much more difficult to get these treatments through traditional commissioning mechanisms as randomised control trials are problematic due to the small number of patients who will benefit and the fact that you cannot offer a ‘placebo pill'.”

Read more about the Innovative Cancer Care Fund.