HEARTBURN CANCER UK often takes the role of "patient voice" on matters where it feels an outcome will be of particular benefit to people on an oesophageal cancer or Barrett's oesophagus journey.

This was the case with The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) who we worked with, along with 2 other registered charities, while they completed an assessment of the drug nivolumab (Opdivo®) which is a type of immunotherapy.

There exists an unmet need for well tolerated therapies that improve survival and quality of life in the case of a patient with advanced, recurrent or metastatic squamous oesophageal carcinoma.

The addition of nivolumab to first-line standard care was found to improve progression-free and overall survival in patients - with some patients reported to have exceptionally extended durations of survival, much greater than the average in the clinical studies.

The drug can improve the day to day quality of life for patients who have reached a very difficult stage of their disease progression.

We are pleased that the SMC have subsequently accepted nivolumab for use within NHS Scotland.