Prostate cancer sufferer denied brachytherapy
A Welsh man was yesterday informed that he is to be denied a medical procedure for prostate cancer which is readily available in England & Scotland. Mr Robin James will now launch legal action to challenge the decision by Health Commission Wales (HCW) to deny him brachytherapy treatment.
Brachytherapy, was recommended to Mr Robin James (56) of Blackwood in Gwent by his doctor, who informed him that he would be an ideal candidate, as his prostate cancer is at an early stage
However despite this recommendation the treatment has been refused to Mr James by the HCW who instructed consultants in August last year that "brachytherapy treatment should not be offered as an NHS treatment option for welsh patients until further notice".
Ben Gent from Irwin Mitchell, the law firm which successfully fought in the High Court for women to receive the Breast Cancer drug Herceptin, confirmed that he was now instructed to seek judicial review of the decision by the HCW to refuse the treatment.
Mr Gent said Brachytherapy is more effective, has fewer side effects and it costs the same as the radiotherapy alternative. This is not an expensive alternative, it is simply a treatment recommended by many doctors and seen by many patients as superior to a similarly priced alternative. Clearly it should not be denied to Mr James or any other patient simply on account of where they live. We will take whatever action is necessary to support his fight for treatment.
Brachytherapy involves a radioactive seed being injected directly into the prostate. It requires just one visit to hospital compared to weeks of radiotherapy and does not carry the same risks as surgery. Importantly for many men reports suggest that brachytherapy is associated with a lower incidence of side effects such as incontinence or impotence.
Mr James and others, including Jayne Sullivan who staged a sit-in at the Welsh Assembly after she was denied the drug Herceptin, will today (29th November 2006) protest outside Health Commission Wales to demand an end to a postcode lottery as regards health treatment.
If you or someone you know has been denied treatment, our solicitors can help. Fill in our online claims form for free advice.