Funding delay could cost Kerry her life

PUBLISHED: 13:00 05 January 2012 | UPDATED: 13:12 05 January 2012

Ruby Dunn with mum Kerry.

Ruby Dunn with mum Kerry.

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A MUM with cancer has suffered a 'devastating' blow after she was finally given funding for potentially life-saving treatment - only to find out it has come too late.

Kerry Dunn had fought for £15-18,000 in funding for rare radiotherapy treatment to treat cancer in her mesentery tissue, with the Cyberknife technology seen as the only way of beating the illness.

But although North Somerset Primary Care Trust (PCT) has now decided to award her the funding, Kerry says the two-month wait has allowed her tumour to grow to an inoperable size.

The Mercury reported last month that Kerry, aged 46, had been diagnosed with cancer between her stomach and bowel tissue.

Doctors told Kerry, who has already beaten cancer three times, that the latest tumour could only be tackled using the Cyberknife treatment.

At the time of her diagnosis, when scans were initially taken, the treatment could have had a 100 per cent chance of success. But without it, her chances of survival will go down to around 30 per cent within a year before falling to less than 10 per cent.

But the PCT did not initially offer her funding and, although it has now decided to award her the money, Kerry, of 
Somerville Road, Sandford, says the two-month wait may have ruined her chances of survival.

She said: “After the trust finally said I could have the funding, I had another scan taken on December 28. But on Friday I heard the results and apparently the tumour is now too big to operate on.

“I don’t know where this leaves me. I shall ask for a second opinion, but the only other treatment really available is radiotherapy, which is only palliative and will not cure me.”

Kerry, who cares for her five-year-old daughter Ruby, who is severely autistic, added: “I can’t believe this has come down to money, it is just devastating.

“I should have started this year with some treatment which would hopefully have cured me. Instead, because of 
the delay, I don’t know what 2012 will bring.

“I just hope this can raise some awareness of the treatment so nobody has to go through anything similar.”

A spokesman for the PCT said: “We fully appreciate how difficult a time this is for the patient and her family.

“Ordinarily any decision on the most appropriate course of treatment is a private one between a doctor and their patient.

“NHS North Somerset made a funding decision within 24 hours of receiving new clinical and social evidence which it requested from all parties concerned. To comment any further at this time would be inappropriate.”

Prior to the funding being awarded to Kerry, musician and family friend Darren Sims and Weston’s Grand Pier had joined forces to stage on a fundraising concert at the end of January.

The concert is still going ahead, and at Kerry’s wish the money raised through it will be donated to the Teenage Cancer Trust South West, which is raising money to build a specialist unit to help cancer sufferers in the South West.

The event is taking place on the Grand Pier on January 27, with doors opening at 6.30pm.

Among the acts appearing are The Communicators, Flash Harry, Capone, Beyond Control, Daz and Friends and many more.

Tickets, priced £9.50, are available from the pier’s retail shop or from Darren on 07976 629132.

More details can be found at www.rock4charity.co.uk

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