St Helens woman one of first to have five-minute breast cancer jab
A new breast cancer jab will cut the amount of time patients have to spend in hospital from two-and-a-half hours to just five minutes.
The treatment, called Phesgo, is being rolled out across England by the NHS and will be offered to breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
It will be available to people with HER2-positive breast cancer, which accounts for 15% of all such cancers.
NHS England said the jab “significantly cuts” the Covid-19 infection risk for cancer patients by reducing the amount of time they have to spend in hospital.
Paula Lamb, 51, was one of the first patients to receive the treatment having been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014.
The housewife, from Newton-le-Willows in St Helens, said: “It feels absolutely amazing to be one of the first people to receive this treatment through the NHS and it really could not have come at a better time as lockdown lifts and I can stop shielding.”
She said: “I’m currently on a combination of medications which take about an hour-and-a-half to two hours to administer all together, and I have to go into hospital to have them every three weeks.
“Having a five-minute treatment means I’ll have more time to get out on walks, for my gardening, knitting and to help my daughter practise her cricket skills. It’s a real life-changer.”
Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive of the charity Breast Cancer Now, said the approval of Phesgo on the NHS was “fantastic news” for thousands of women who will benefit from a “quicker and kinder” treatment method.
She said: “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.”
More than 3,600 new patients each year will benefit from the treatment, NHS England said.
Phesgo is a fixed-dose combination of the drugs pertuzumab with trastuzumab – both of which would have previously been given as separate intravenous infusions.
It is used to treat all stages of HER2-positive breast cancer in combination with chemotherapy.
The treatment takes as little as five minutes to prepare and administer, compared with two infusions that can take up to two-and-a-half hours, NHS England said.