Breast cancer patients are first in the country to receive new treatment at home

Breast cancer patients in Wigan could be among the first in the country to receive a new drug treatment in their homes.

Monday, 26th April 2021, 3:45 pm

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester has become the first cancer centre in the UK to provide Phesgo to people at home.

It is a combination of Herceptin (Trastuzumab) and Perjeta (Pertuzumab), two very effective cancer drugs used to treat one of the more aggressive types of breast cancer (HER2-positive genetic variant) once it has spread throughout the body.

Around 250 patients each month in Greater Manchester and Cheshire will be potentially eligible for the at-home service, with those who choose not to take up the offer being given the treatment through a network of local centres closer to home or at The Christie’s Withington site.

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Patient Jean Woods

Previously the treatment was given as an intravenous infusion in a healthcare setting, but will now be given as an injection.

It means not only can many patients receive the drug at home, it also reduces the time they spend having the treatment and under clinical observation afterwards. For a typical maintenance dose, previously a patient would spend around four hours in a healthcare setting, but this can now be safely done at home in just 30 minutes.

This is the latest step in an ambitious expansion plan for "at home" treatments offered by The Christie. It ensures the centre now provides the most comprehensive range of drug treatments at home for cancer patients and treats more patients at home than any other cancer centre in the UK.

The Christie has almost doubled the number of treatments offered to patients in their own homes in the last three years and hopes to have trebled the number in the next 18 months.

Since establishing The Christie at Home service in 2015, 24,000 patient treatments have been provided.

The first Christie patient to have Phesgo at home was retired store manager Jean Woods, 74, from Rochdale.

She said: “I was diagnosed with HERS-2 positive breast cancer in November 2020 and have been travelling to Oldham for chemotherapy and hormonal treatments. Initially, this was once every three weeks but more recently it has been once a week.

“I’m thrilled that I’ll be able to have my treatment at home once every three weeks. It will be so much more convenient and a lot less stressful. It will take about 30 minutes from start to end to get the injection I need. You know that the nurse will come at a particular time and I can then get on with the rest of the day.”

Chemotherapy outreach manager Stephanie Hechter said: “The service has proved to be ideal during the Covid-19 pandemic as patients can be treated while shielding and it reduces footfall at The Christie. The nurses wear more PPE, but otherwise, the service is much the same as it was before Covid-19.

“For some patients, our nurse might be the only visit they get in weeks, so they look forward to it. Our patients find it much more convenient and it saves them long journeys and long waits. For those who are working, we try to be as flexible as possible and work around their commitments.”

The Christie at Home service currently provides eight different drugs for patients with a range of tumours including lung, breast, melanoma, renal and urology cancer.

Patients usually become eligible for the at-home service after two treatments in a healthcare setting, unless they had an adverse reaction to the therapy.

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