Five-minute breast cancer treatment rolled out

An injection that cuts the amount of time breast cancer patients spend in hospital from two and a half hours to as little as five minutes is being rolled out across the country.

NHS England says that breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy will be offered a new combined treatment called PHESGO, which is injected and takes as little as five minutes to prepare and administer, compared with two infusions that can take up to two and a half hours.

It is hoped that more than 3,600 new patients each year will benefit from the treatment, as well as others who will switch from the treatment they are on to the single injection, following an NHS deal with the manufacturer.

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

The jab also significantly cuts the coronavirus infection risk for cancer patients by reducing the amount of time spent in hospital and frees up time for clinicians in chemotherapy units.

Peter Johnson, NHS national clinical director for cancer, 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 that previously would have been given as separate IV infusions.

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