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Sinn Féin Conference to discuss access to Breast Cancer Treatment

16 November, 2005

Sinn Féin Mid Ulster MLA Gereldine Dougan has confirmed that the conference organised to discus to treatment for women with early stage Breast Cancer with the cancer drug Herceptin on Thursday, 17th November, in the Long Gallery at Stormont will go ahead after Direct Rule Health Minister Shaun Woodward was forced to make a u-turn last Friday and make the drug available.

Speakers will include Patricia McPeake and Roisín McCann who have both been diagnosed with the HER-2 form of breast cancer and Alan George from Ulster Cancer Foundation.

Speaking ahead of the conference Ms Dougan said:

"It was an absolute disgrace that despite repeated requests for meetings with Shaun Woodward, that he refused to meet with either Patricia McPeake or Roisín McCann to discuss this issue. It was wrong that it took the threat of legal action by these brave women to force Mr Woodward to make a u-turn.

"This is a human rights issue. It is about defending the right of women to potentially life saving treatment.

"There is still a great deal of confusion over where the money to fund treatment with new drugs is coming from within the health budget and there are still many many people out there fighting to get access to treatment with new drugs.

"I believe that it is time for everyone fighting for treatment to come together, with political parties, and through some type of forum demand a strategic response to the issue of funding and access to new drugs.

"The courage of women like Patricia and Roisín fighting cancer and taking on the department of health should be recognised and supported." ENDS

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