Extend the application of lifesaving medication Keytruda, for people with Bile Duct Cancer

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In May 2018, my partner Mark (45) was diagnosed with a very rare cancer - bile duct cancer (Cholangiocarcinoma) which has spread to his liver, lungs and lymph nodes (Metastasized).  Only 92 people in Victoria are diagnosed with this cancer each year according to the Cancer Council (https://www.cancervic.org.au/cancer-information/cancer-types/cancer_types/bile_duct_cancer  His cancer is non-operable and non-curable so the chemotherapy that he is currently undergoing is essentially palliative.  The average survival rate of someone with bile duct cancer that has metastasized is less than 1 year after treatment.  So, the outlook is pretty grim.

There is a drug that is listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) called Keytruda (Pembrolizumab) that has been shown to work effectively with the immune system to attack and eradicate the cancer cells.  

The problem Cholangiocarcinoma patients have is that although the lifesaving drug "Keytruda" is listed on the PBS, patients can only benefit from the significant savings if they present with; Unresectable Stage III or Stage IV malignant melanoma or Relapsed or Refractory Hodgkin lymphoma.  This means that patients with melanoma or Hodgkin lymphoma only pay $39.50 per treatment on the PBS and everyone else pays up to $60,000 per year putting it outside the reach for many people. (http://theconversation.com/weekly-dose-keytruda-may-be-a-miracle-cancer-drug-but-can-those-who-need-it-afford-it-74757) To know that a drug that can help fight this monster is incredible, to have it just outside of arms reach is heart breaking.

Rare Cancers have banded together to try and grow their impact in the broader community. The federal government are to be applauded for their acknowledgement of the Rare Cancer plight and by announcing funding to support research and local trials being funded to prevent patients having to travel interstate to participate in trials. 

This petition seeks to expand the application of "Keytruda" being used for patients who do not have the means to purchase it privately.

How can you help?  Please help by signing this petition snd sharing it so that Greg Hunt MP places this very rare cancer as one that is covered to receive the PBS benefit.  This life saving drug "Keytruda" can save the lives of people who are suffering from this terrible disease.



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