The NHS has fast-tracked a drug with the intention of addressing the debilitating condition of the prostate cancer.
Clinical trials indicate that docetaxel can extend the life of men are suffering with this aggressive form of cancer by more than 12 months.
Following the decision by the NHS, it is now possible for clinicians throughout the health service to prescribe this medicine immediately.
Prostate is the most common cancer in men in the UK, affecting one in eight at some point in their lives.
Over 9,000 British residents dying from prostate cancer on an annual basis.
Docetaxel could extend life for over 4,500 men every year who already have advanced cases of prostate cancer.
Angela Culhane, the chief executive of Prostate Cancer UK, believes that the decision related to this drug is excellent news for sufferers of the malignant cancer all over the UK.
“It is critical that specialists are made aware that this use of docetaxel treatment is available so that no man misses out. Earlier docetaxel must become the standard for men who can benefit from it and we will continue applying pressure until we are sure this is the case.”
In addition, Culhane also suggested that the response of the NHS in this department is indicative of the flexible approach that the health service should take to new drugs in the future.
“This fast-track response to new evidence indicates what can be achieved when there is the will in the system. It must set a precedent for other treatments that demonstrate clear clinical benefit when used in different ways.”
Jonathan Fielden, the director of specialised services at NHS England, also commented on the issue, stating that the scientific evidence supporting the prescription of this particular drug was incontestable.
“Rigorous new evidence shows that this drug brings significant benefits for patients with advanced prostate cancer. So working closely with patient groups and cancer specialists, NHS England is now pleased to be fast-tracking its wider availability.”
Prostate cancer is disproportionately present in older men, while a family history of the condition can also be a major risk factor.
It has also been shown that black men in particular suffer from prostate cancer in large numbers.
Although docetaxel is being prescribed as a medicinal drug for the first time, the substance has already been used within the NHS previously.
Docetaxel chemotherapy forms part of the routine NHS treatment for men with advanced prostate cancer.
However, this has previously only been prescribed once men have become resistant to androgen deprivation therapy.
In future, it will be possible for both the treatments to be commenced simultaneously, and NHS officials are hopeful that this will have a positive influence on treatment of prostate cancer.