It has been exhausting, frustrating and incredibly hard but a Tauranga woman's fight for funding of a cancer wonder-drug has been heard.
Sue Wall-Cade is living with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, also known as advanced breast cancer. She is a "metavivor" - a portmanteau of her terminal diagnosis and survivor.
On Wednesday, Pharmac announced plans to fund Kadcyla for HER-2 positive metastatic breast cancer patients such as Wall-Cade. Kadcyla is a life-prolonging drug believed to extend a person's life by two to three years.
The national drug funding agency will also look to fund Alecensa for positive advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Both drugs are anticipated to be made publicly available by December 1.
"I'm absolutely overjoyed. Absolutely thrilled for all the ladies who are HER-2 positive," Wall-Cade said.
"It's another tool in the toolbox to bash cancer. It's fantastic."
Wall-Cade has headed petitions calling for funding for Kadcyla, marched on Parliament with other metavivors, presented to the Health Select Committee, and written to MPs and the Prime Minister.
"It's nearly $10,000 a month. That's $3000 a week. It's just prohibitive. In Australia, it's $40. I mean, hello? It's just crazy."
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Wall-Cade's fight has not been easy. She had been receiving chemotherapy but her body has now reached its limit with the treatment.
Kadcyla became Wall-Cade's only option. After recommendations from her oncologist and a second opinion, Wall-Cade had prepared to fund Kadcycla herself, beginning with selling things.
Pharmac's announcement comes following increased pressure by people such as Wall-Cade calling for better access to life-saving and life-prolonging drugs.
Earlier this year the Lung Cancer Foundation launched a petition saying five people died of the disease every day while a further six were diagnosed.
Pharmac said it also planned to fund Ocrevus - a drug that treats relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis.
Kadcyla, also known as T-DM1 or trastuzumab emtansine, is already in use and funded or subsidised in other OECD countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom.
Kadcyla, plus cancer drug Ibrance (the brand name for palbociclib), are considered to be "game-changers" by many breast cancer patients who say they potentially double the average survival rate of a patient's diagnosis.
More than 600 Kiwi women die each year from breast cancer, the nation's third most common form of cancer.
The agency is seeking public feedback on its proposal. All feedback received before the closing date will be considered by Pharmac's board (or its delegate) prior to making the final decision on this proposal.