Breast Cancer: Drugs

Department of Health written question – answered on 20th January 2017.

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Photo of Nigel Dodds Nigel Dodds Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Reform and Constitutional Issues), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs), DUP Westminster Leader

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, if he will estimate the effect of making available on the NHS bisphosphonates for the treatment of secondary breast cancer on the number of women successfully treated for breast cancer each year.

Photo of Nicola Blackwood Nicola Blackwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Information is not available to enable such an estimate to be made.

Although bisphosphonates are not licensed for the treatment or prevention of secondary breast cancer, there is no legal or regulatory barrier to healthcare professionals prescribing them ‘off-licence’ for this purpose on the National Health Service, subject to any local funding policies, if they believe that it is clinically appropriate to do so.

In its clinical guideline on the diagnosis and treatment of early and locally advanced breast cancer (CG80), published in February 2009, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that bisphosphonates should be offered to patients for the management of breast cancer treatment-induced bone loss subject to certain criteria. NICE is currently updating this guidance and the use of adjuvant bisphosphonates is one of the key areas that will be covered in the update which is expected in July 2018.

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