Healthcare news

Mother-of-two with terminal breast cancer forced to get Credit Union loan to access new drug

Belfast woman Sinead Joyce has been forced to get a loan to pay for a cancer drug

A MOTHER-OF-TWO battling terminal breast cancer has been forced to get a Credit Union loan to access a new drug that may prolong her life.

Sinead Joyce (47), from west Belfast, is not eligible for the treatment which costs almost £3,000 a month.

Known as Palbociclib (Ibrance), only women who are newly diagnosed with advanced breast cancer can receive the medication for free in Northern Ireland.

The former medical secretary has resorted to getting a loan to pay for a monthly prescription, saying she wants to extend her life to see her sons through their education.

Ms Joyce was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. Six years later, she received the devastating news that the disease had spread.

She is desperate to fund the education of her sons Conor (19) and Pearse (15).

A GoFundMe appeal has been launched by her friends, urging people to "ditch your Friday night takeaway or bottle of wine or even your latte and donate that money to our Sinead".

The campaign has now raised more than £13,000 - with a target set of £25,000.

The Belfast woman said she was overwhelmed by the fundraiser and told Belfast Live: "I was offered chemotherapy, which would only extend my life for a couple of months.

"There was no way I would accept that if those were going to be the last memories for my children.

"Then I heard Palbociclib could extend my life for longer, with some people in the US surviving on it for a couple of years.

"But under NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines it can only be prescribed for a new patient with secondary breast cancer.

"I had Credit Union money to get my bathroom done so I thought I would use that for my first month. I am trying to save my life here so I don't want to accept what is, in my opinion, a second class drug.

"One of my sons is sitting his GCSEs and the other is doing an acting degree at Bath Spa University. I want to see them through school."

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