Cancer patient in drug fight loses battle with illness

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A cancer patient from Yorkshire who fought NHS chiefs to pay for vital drug treatment has lost her battle against the illness.

Lisa Brydon, 43, of Little Smeaton, near Pontefract, was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in July 2013 and given the grim news her prognosis was only 12 months.

A year ago, scans revealed the illness was progressing and her consultant at St James’s Hospital in Leeds recommended she try to the drug Avastin.

But despite repeated requests to the Government’s Cancer Drugs Fund, funding was refused and she and her husband Jack Carter paid for the infusions themselves.

The drug was initially successful in shrinking her tumours and significantly improved her quality of life by reducing her dependence on other medication, which saved the NHS money, but further treatment proved ineffective.

Mr Carter said his wife had taken part in a trial of a new chemotherapy drug in London but suffered a bad reaction to it.

She spent her final weeks in Wakefield Hospice and died on Monday last week.

He said: “She always fought and we had a mantra ‘unbeatable’ which we repeated over and over again the past 21 months.

“The staff at the Wakefield Hospice were absolutely wonderful.

“They restored my confidence in people - the kindness they showed was unbelievable.

“I couldn’t compliment the staff at St James’s any higher. Her consultant did everything she could to get the drug funded.”

Mr Carter said the fund’s mandate was designed to offer expensive treatments if they were beneficial but his wife’s application had been rejected because the drug was not judged to be cost-effective.

“The fund was of no benefit at all to Lisa. Obviously cost-effectiveness was the crux of the matter,” he said.

“It’s like breaking a promise. Lots of people have suffered as a consequence because of this.

“I dread to think if somebody didn’t have the cash what they would do.”

Her funeral will be held at 2.30pm on Thursday at St Peter’s Church in Kirk Smeaton.