GIST is an abbreviation for GastroIntestinal Stormal Tumour. GISTs are malignant tumours of soft tissues in the stomach and intestines and is thankfully a very rare type of cancer. It is estimated that there is around 900 new cases of GIST in the UK each year, and although usually seen in those aged 55 to 65 there are GIST patients young and old.
Jemma Peacock’s Plight
Sussex-based Jemma, 31, was expecting her second child when she was diagnosed with this rare form of cancer, she needed ten blood transfusions and nearly died. She is a loving mum to her two daughters and is supported by her husband, Tony. Jemma is currently on Imatinib – the 1st line drug in holding GIST at bay, Imatinib is not a cure and will stop working in the near future. The next drug Jemma will be offered is Sutant, Sutant is practically ineffective against Wild Type GIST (the rarest form) which Jemma is suffering from. The third and final option for Jemma is Regorafenib. This drug will not cure Jemma, but is proven to enable a patient to live for considerably longer than both Imatinib and Sutant!
Without Regorafenib Jemma and other Paediatric and Wild Type GIST sufferers are left with the heartbraking inevitability of a very short life.
Due to an ever-increasing financial budget, this drug has been withdrawn by NHS England and their Cancer Drugs Fund, stating that the drug “represented insufficient value”. Without this hope, Jemma’s only options are pain relief and end of life care – she will never see her two daughters grow up. Signing the online petition may make the difference, one voice is rarely heard, but together we are stronger.