A MOTHER says she is being denied a life-prolonging cancer drug which she has been told is not available on the NHS in Wales.

Joannah Houghton from Chirk was told she was not eligible to receive the palliative medication Avastin to complement other drugs she is taking as part of a series of chemotherapy sessions.

Joannah, 47, was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2016, but it has now spread to her lymph nodes and lungs.

The mother-of-two had previously been told she could survive for between five and seven years and she has been determined to get the best possible treatment at a regional cancer centre at Clatterbridge Hospital on the Wirral.

But by stepping over the border for medical care her chances of receiving the drug have diminished.

She was told there is no NHS funding for Avastin in Wales.

Joannah, who works as a new born baby screener at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, said: “I feel upset extremely angry and let down by the Welsh health authorities especially when I have dedicated 22 years of my life as a health care professional.

“I am having six sessions of chemotherapy every three weeks, but my oncologist at Clatterbridge told me NHS Wales had questioned the use of Avastin to run alongside my other two cancer drugs Paclitaxel and Carboplatin.

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“Avastin is a drug that could prolong my life but whether you are entitled to have it depends on where you live. It is a postcode lottery and I was told if I changed my address the circumstances might be different.”

While women in England can access Avastin through the Cancer Drugs Fund and it is available on the NHS in Scotland, the Welsh Government’s All-Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) has recommended against it being routinely used on the NHS.

Joannah has contacted Clwyd South AM Ken Skates for help, while Geoff Ryall-Harvey, chief officer of North Wales Community Health Council, has asked her to contact the watchdog as it can help her appeal if an individual funding request fails.

“This unfortunately is an all too common occurrence in Wales, it is not just affecting people in the north covered by Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board,” said Mr Ryall-Harvey.

Joannah, who is due to undergo her next session of chemotherapy next Thursday, recalled: “I was told the cancer was incurable back in 2016. I’ve had 25 radiotherapies and five chemotherapies as well as three brachytherapies.

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“But the Avastin is a targeted therapy which will shrink the tumours.”

Currently, her illness has meant her being off work, but she says she gains strength from the support she is receiving from her partner, Tim, and children, Ryan and Emily as well as her friends who want to launch a GoFundMe page on her behalf.

“I’m one of those people who keeps positive and if you look at me you would not think I was a cancer patient. I believe there is light at the end of the tunnel,” she added.

“I’m not willing to let this go when this is a drug that would help me and prolong my life as well as other Welsh patients who are going through the same as me.”

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “The AWMSG examined the evidence for using Avastin to treat recurrent or advanced cervical cancer and recommended against its routine use.

“Where a treatment is not routinely available in the Welsh NHS, but a clinician thinks that his or her patient is likely to gain significant clinical benefit from the treatment, the clinician may make an Individual Patient Funding Request to the health board on the patient’s behalf.”