A CANCER survivor from Worcester gave a message of hope to people across Europe battling the illness when she gave a speech to the European Parliament.
Barbara Moss gave the presentation to MEPs in Brussels last week as she continues to campaign for a better deal for cancer patients on issues like access to life-saving drugs and screening.
She was chosen to speak for patients as umbrella organisation EuropaColon launches its white paper to improve chances of survival for bowel cancer patients by creating minimum standards of care across Europe.
Mrs Moss, aged 57, of Aconbury Close, off Newtown Road, Worcester, was diagnosed with bowel cancer and given months to live but that was six years ago this month.
She said: “There was one lady who was in tears and clutched my hand on my way out and she said ‘thank you so much – you have given me so much hope’. It was lovely.”
Mrs Moss does not believe she would have survived her bowel cancer if her family had not paid £21,000 for her cancer care, including £4,000 for the ‘top-up’ drug Avastin which shrank the tumour until it became operable.
NHS Worcestershire had refused to fund the drug on the basis of advice from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) that it was not cost-effective.
Mrs Moss said: “Our doctors are fantastic – it’s the system that’s flawed. People should not have to fight bureaucracy as well as cancer.”
Mrs Moss said European countries needed strong cancer plans with screening programmes and better awareness.
She also believes it is important to help people gain more control of their own care and treatment rather than placing it in the hands of officials and bureaucrats.
“When you come away from talking about the cost, you’re looking at people’s lives and that’s the first priority. I will do my utmost to prevent people going through what I had to go through” she said.