“It worked very, very well since two months later, I was in almost complete remission (…) and it has been going on ever since.” This cry of hope is Isabelle’s. For a year, she battled triple negative breast cancer. A very aggressive disease for which the prognosis for survival is only 15 months.

Chemotherapy, double operation, radiotherapy, a multitude of treatments have been put in place, but it is ultimately an innovative treatment combining immunotherapy and chemotherapy that turned out to be miraculous for Isabelle.

A fundraising of 100,000 euros

But to benefit from it, Isabelle had to raise funds, nearly 100,000 euros because to date this treatment is only accessible within the framework of clinical trials. In March, the Haute Autorité de Santé also ruled against reimbursement.

The health authority justifies itself by asserting that “the addition of immunotherapy did not improve the prognosis of these patients” but only “to delay the progression of the disease by a few weeks so that ultimately the prognosis, unfortunately extremely poor, is maintained.”

Few treatment offers

For some oncologists, such as Prof. Mahasti Saghatchian, this decision is not understandable. “Today in this cancer, we do not have much to offer, I find it difficult to accept that we have a treatment available elsewhere and that we cannot offer it to our patients” she laments.

To eventually allow reimbursement by social security, some teams are seeking to optimize the use of this treatment, as at the Institut Curie in Paris. Good results are observed in “a very small fraction of patients” explains Doctor Delphine Loirat. But it is necessary to explain to patients that “this is not a miraculous therapy” and that we “does not heal with in all cases.”

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