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Thursday, January 27, 2022

UK’s new breast cancer injection cuts hours-long treatments to 5 minutes


The new PHESGO injection is expected to benefit more than 3,600 new patients in the UK each year, though a global rollout could see thousands more helped. 

A new breast cancer treatment that cuts the length of time for patients at hospitals could soon be made available worldwide, after it was first rolled out by England’s National Health Service [NHS].

Patients undergoing chemotherapy will benefit from the new combined treatment called PHESGO, which allows for a two and a half hour procedure to complete in just 5 minutes, the NHS announced on Sunday.

“The five-minute jab significantly cuts the Covid infection risk for cancer patients by reducing the amount of time spent in hospital and frees up time for clinicians in chemotherapy units,” UK’s NHS said in a statement. 

The treatment, which is in the form of an injection, is expected to benefit more than 3,600 new patients in the UK each year, though a global rollout could see thousands more helped. 

“The injection will be offered to eligible people with HER2-positive breast cancer, which accounts for 15% of all breast cancers, and can be given alongside chemotherapy or on its own,” the NHS stated. 

Read also: One step forward, two steps back: Why is Qatar struggling to combat the second wave?

This comes as international medical efforts continue to enhance cancer care during the ongoing global health crisis. The life-saving jabs were first made accessible in February and was given to a 51-year-old house wife named Paula Lamb.

Lamb, who is receiving treatment at the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, 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.”

“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,” she said.

The injection is mostly important during the pandemic as it is substantially quicker and helps in preventing the spread of Covid-19 among cancer patients while they await treatments at hospitals. 

“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,” Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said.

Experts hope to see PHESGO become rapidly available and accessible in different countries around the world to allow breast cancer patients to reap its benefits as soon as possible. 

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