Tessa Jowell Leaves Legacy As Brain Cancer Treatment Is Rolled Out
Labour MP Tessa Jowell, who died last year from a brain tumour, has left an important legacy, as the government has agreed to roll out a potentially life-saving treatment in all NHS hospitals across the UK.
Baroness Jowell was told she had glioblastoma in May 2017, and in the year between her diagnosis and her death, she campaigned for better funding and treatments for brain cancers.
This included the roll-out of 5-ALA, a liquid that uses fluorescent dye to highlight cancer cells under ultraviolet light. After the patient consumers the ‘pink drink’, their malignant cells show up, enabling surgeons to target them specifically so they can be confident the entire tumour is removed and can spare the healthy brain cells.
The treatment was available in some NHS clinics previously, but health secretary Matt Hancock has just revealed it will now be offered in all neurological centres.
Professor Ashkan, who was one of the first doctors to use 5-ALA, told Sky News: “This drug helps us because it can differentiate and delineate a tumour a lot better than it would be under ordinary white light, so the better we can see, the more clear the margins.”
This will provide a “better outcome for patients” as surgeons can remove more of the tumour with fewer risks.
Mr Hancock revealed the treatment can be nationalised thanks to an extra £33.9 billion being ploughed into the NHS from the government, which will be necessary as the drug is £1,000 per person and the equipment in each facility will cost more than £30,000.
To find out about the latest developments in healthcare treatments, look for medical events taking place near you.