Bay of Plenty advanced breast cancer survivors are marching on Wellington today , fighting for more time.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of people diagnosed with incurable cancer - and their supporters - will present a petition to Parliament, calling for better access to life-prolonging drugs Ibrance and Kadcyla.

Ibrance, the brand name for palbociclib, and Kadcyla, also known as T-DM1 or trastuzumab emtansine, are already in use and funded or subsidised in other OECD counties such as Australia and the United Kingdom. The drugs, considered to be "game changers", cost a person $6000 or $10,000 a month respectively.

The group includes Tauranga woman Tracy Barr-Smith, who travelled down yesterday.


Barr-Smith said having the ability to afford the treatment meant "everything to people in my situation".

"You can extend your life for two years or more," she said.

"Two more years is everything when you are faced with a ticking time bomb. Time is valuable. You don't realise how limited it is until you have been given a time frame."

Barr-Smith said it was essential people understood "this doesn't just affect one person".

"This is not an older ladies' disease," she said.

"These are busy women being cut down in the prime of their lives. And 1 per cent of men get it too, you just never hear about them."

Rotorua woman Raewyn takes Ibrance at a cost of $5987 a month. Raewyn, who did not want her last name used, said she was only alive now because of those pills.

She was one of the lucky ones "if you could call it that".

About 300 New Zealanders are diagnosed with advanced breast cancer each year.