‘Life-changer’ five minute breast cancer jab being rolled out to patients in England - how it works

The treatment takes only five minutes to administer (Photo: Shutterstock)The treatment takes only five minutes to administer (Photo: Shutterstock)
The treatment takes only five minutes to administer (Photo: Shutterstock)

A new jab is being rolled out to breast cancer patients in England which will cut the time people have to spend in hospital to just five minutes.

The treatment, called Phesgo, will be made available to breast cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy, including people with HER2-positive breast cancer.

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This type of cancer accounts for 15 per cent of all breast cancer cases.

Minimised infection risk

By reducing the amount of time cancer patients need to spend in hospital from two-and-a-half hours down to just five minutes, NHS England said the Covid-19 infection risk will be “significantly” cut.

The approval of Phesgo on the NHS marks “fantastic news” for thousands of women, allowing them to benefit from a “quicker and kinder” treatment method.

More than 3,600 new cancer patients each year will benefit from the treatment, according to NHS England.

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Commenting on the rollout by the NHS, Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive of the charity Breast Cancer Now, said: “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.”

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How does the treatment work?

Phesgo is a fixed-dose combination of the drugs pertuzumab with trastuzumab, both of which previously have been given to patients as separate intravenous infusions.

The drug is used to treat all stages of HER2-positive breast cancer in combination with chemotherapy, and takes as little as five minutes to prepare and administer.

This is a significant reduction when compared with two infusions that can take up to two-and-a-half hours to give to patients, NHS England said.

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Paula Lamb, 51, was one of the first patients to receive the treatment having been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014.

The housewife, from Newton-le-Willows in St Helens, 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.”

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“I’m currently on a combination of medications which take about an hour-and-a-half to two hours to administer all together, and I have to go into hospital to have them every three weeks.

“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.”

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