New breast cancer treatment to cut waiting times for NHS patients

A new breast cancer treatment, called Phesgo, is set to be made available to NHS patients.

The injection procedure will reportedly cut patient waiting times from two-and-a-half-hours to five minutes, and could be used on more than 3,500 patients this year.  

The treatment is aimed at patients with HER2-positive breast cancer, which makes up 15 per cent of all breast cancer cases. As part of a deal with the manufacturer, the treatment will come at no extra cost to patients or the NHS.  

NHS National Clinical Director for Cancer, Peter Johnson, said: “The NHS has continued to adopt new treatments rapidly throughout the pandemic, to improve cancer care for patients.

“This new injection, which can substantially cut treatment time for people with breast cancer, is the latest in a series of changes which have meant the NHS has been able to deliver vital cancer treatment while keeping patients safe from COVID. 

“I am delighted that this is now available to people having breast cancer treatment, limiting the time they need to spend in hospital and giving the NHS another way to continue treating as many cancer patients as possible, as we have done throughout the pandemic.” 

Phesgo is a fixed-dose combination of pertuzumab with trastuzumab, which would previously have been given as separate IV infusions. 

Over the course of the pandemic, the NHS has invested heavily in so-called ‘COVID-friendly’ treatments that reduce adverse effects on the immune system and limit hospital visits.  

Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said: “Approval of Phesgo being used on the NHS in England is fantastic news as thousands of women with HER2-positive breast cancer will now benefit from a quicker and kinder treatment method.

“Reducing the time patients need to spend in hospital, this more efficient treatment method also promises to free up precious time for healthcare professionals.”