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Bleakley cancer story let down the real sufferers

Further to the story regarding Christine Bleakley's 'cancer scare' (Online, June 22), I am disappointed that the article did not even mention the words 'skin cancer', or 'malignant melanoma'.

I am 29 years old, from Co Antrim, and I am fighting terminal skin cancer.

This was an opportunity for Northern Irish readers to become aware of the importance of checking moles and understanding that skin cancer is now one of the most common and most deadly cancers. I have melanoma in both lungs, liver and bones.

There is very little awareness, or expertise, in this country, although the incidence rate is on the rise. This is especially true among young people.

I can only find a single local newspaper last week that ran the story that NICE (the NHS clinical excellence committee) has rejected a new drug for patients with advanced melanoma to prolong life.

There is no effective treatment on the NHS for patients with advanced melanoma and, after 30 years with no progress, NICE has rejected two life-prolonging drugs within the last year alone.

Ms Bleakley received her results quickly - unlike most patients who have to wait two to three weeks. I had to wait two weeks to discover that my disease had spread and was now terminal.


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