Prostate cancer treatment worth $40,000 a year to be on PBS
A significant prostate cancer treatment is about to become more affordable for men across the country.
Men living with metastatic hormone sensitive prostate cancer will be able access Erlyand (apalutamide) on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from June, which currently costs patients about $40,000 a year.
The specific cancer effects about 3000 Australian men and apalutamide has proven to boost survival rates.
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Currently two in three men with stage four prostate cancer in Australia do not survive.
Graham Oldfield said a swollen lymph node was the only warning sign of his cancer.
"He did a biopsy and found one half of the prostate was destroyed by cancer and it also spread through my body… through my lymphatic system, it is in my spine, it is in my lung," Oldfield.
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Oldfield said Apalutamide worked better and had less side effects than the other drugs.
The PBS will reduce the cost of the drugs to $30 per script, or about $7.30 for pension card holders.
Professor Anthony Joshua at St Vincent's Hospital said prostate cancer uses testosterone to fuel its growth, which was why men were given hormone injections.
"Then the cancer realises there is no testosterone around anymore and it starts to make its own testosterone and that's what these drugs are very good at blocking," Joshua said.
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"These class of drugs are very effective in helping men live longer and live better."
Federal health minister Mark Butler said the PBS listing would make a dramatic change for men and prostate cancer suffers.
"It is a treatment that can be taken at home without attending a hospital or other medical facility," Butler said.
This is the first drug of its kind to be listed on the PBS for men whose cancer has spread.
Last year it was subsidised for those with earlier stage disease.
Prostate cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in Australia and the second most deadly.
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