Cancer sufferer uses Daffodil Day to raise awareness

By Tema Hemi

A breast cancer sufferer is using Daffidol Day to raise awareness about unfunded treatment.

Daffidol Day, which began in 1990, is a a cancer fundraising day where donations are collected and awareness is raised about cancer. 

Despite the struggles of one cancer patient, she's travelling the country raising awareness.

Wiki Mulholland, who has stage four breast cancer, says, "I feel really mad actually, me and my warrior sisters who have stage four cancer it feels like we're a bit forgotten.  We're mums, we're police women, we're teachers, we deserve to have access to the medication that we need."

Mulholland completed her first round of chemotherapy treatment and hopes Daffodil Day will raise more awareness around unfunded treatment.

"I started on Tamoxifen which is basically for the hormone part of the disease and unfortunately that hasn't worked for me, so the options that I had on the table were chemotherapy or Palbociblib, which is Ibrance- that's a unfunded treatment so I've decided to go with chemo.

"I had my first session on Thursday and we're hoping this will work but if it doesn't I'm in the position where I need to find six thousand dollars a month just to live."

Pharmac has been granted $60 million of funding to increase the range of drugs available, but one doctor says New Zealanders are getting access to new drugs later than cancer sufferers in other countries.

Dr Chris Jackson of the Cancer Society says, "Currently we have this very clunky and slow bureaucracy which takes more than three years to evaluate a new cancer drug before it becomes available and people who are affected by cancer are affected today and because of the short life expectancy of people who are diagnosed with cancer, they don't have time to wait."

The government says it plans to open a new national cancer agency to ensure DHBs are resourced for the best level of cancer care but details are yet to be released.