Methil cancer victim’s hope after NHS about-turn

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A METHIL family is “amazed and delighted” after NHS bosses agreed to fund pioneering cancer treatment.

Tarek Ramzi (56), who has an inoperable tumour on his lung, lost all hope of survival after NHS Fife refused to pay for Cyberknife therapy, on the grounds it was ineffective.

However, after a fight lasting nine months, the authority has about-turned and treatment is expected to start within the fortnight.

“It’s like someone has given me a lifeline,” said father-of-two Mr Ramzi, who likened the news to winning the Lottery.

Meanwhile, Councillor Andrew Rodger, who has represented the family since February, said it had been his most difficult case in his 20-year career.

“Over the last nine months, the Ramzi family has been fighting so hard to get NHS Fife to release funding for this treatment and every time, their hopes were being dashed with every letter they received,” he said.

Instead of calling for clinical evidence which could not exist, NHS Fife should have discussed Mr Ramzi’s specific case with his consultant clinical oncologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London, Cllr Rodger claimed.

“Like the consultant from Guy’s, I was extremely concerned at how long this matter dragged on.”

Mr Ramzi’s wife, Senga, said the family had almost given up hope.

“Obviously, since he was diagnosed it felt like a downhill slope,” she added.

“We were told there was nothing else that could be done for him after he was given chemotherapy.

“We just thought ‘God, this is the end’.”

However, the family discovered ‘Gamma knife’ treatment, which dramatically cured five tumours in Mr Ramzi’s brain.

Still, despite his excellent response to treatment, NHS Fife refused to pay up to £22,500 for Cyberknife therapy in England.

“It’s like hell being opened up, “ said Mrs Ramzi.

“If you were asking for treatment abroad, it’s a definite no-no but England’s just a stone’s throw away.

“My hope was they would take a really good look at the evidence and realise this treatment will not only help Tarek but many, many others.”

She added: “You struggle enough coping with disease without having to struggle to fight for treatment.

“It’s absolutely crazy and the rollercoaster has only just stopped.”

Mrs Ramzi concluded: “We’d like to thank Cllr Rodger and members of the public who have been overwhelming in their support for Tarek, including Caroline Mitchell, who has fund-raised over £5500. Every penny that was given was a penny that made us hang on in there. They’ve been fantastic.”