I don't think anyone who has been dealing with secondary breast cancer for as long as I have can avoid the increasing prices of new drugs. I have seen so many new, exciting drugs being developed over the last few years and watched with interest the process of getting these innovations funded in the NHS.
Emma (right) with her daughter
As well as being unable to access new drugs because of the high price, often these same drugs once approved are only available to women who have not already received previous treatment for breast cancer. This has been another barrier to me accessing treatments which could be of benefit. I had started fundraising for the drug palbociclib just before it was approved for funding only to then discover that I still wasn't eligible as it wouldn't be a first line treatment for me.
Since then a biopsy has shown that my cancer has changed to a form called HER2+ which has opened up some more treatment options for me. I still cannot get access to the gold standard treatments though as although I am first line HER2 I am not first line treatment for my secondary cancer. It's a frustrating situation for anyone fortunate enough to be surviving the odds.
My campaigning work on improving provision for secondary breast cancer patients has given me real purpose (click here to see me on Sky News). I took early retirement on medical grounds from my teaching career when I was first diagnosed and campaigning has given me a focus and made me feel like I am still contributing to society.
I am an advocate of the NHS, it's a wonderful organisation but it is inadequately funded and taken advantage of by the multinational drugs companies who choose to demand higher and higher prices for drugs. If we don't speak out and put the human side of this story forward it could be so easy to sweep these issues under the carpet.