A MAN diagnosed with an incurable form of blood cancer after breaking his back has said a new life-extending treatment will 'transform' lives.

More than 2,500 extra patients in England with multiple myeloma are now eligible for the drug on the NHS, which comes in the form of a daily tablet.

Phil Kelly, from Abingdon, who was diagnosed with the disease in 2006, has been on drug Revlimid for four years.

The 54-year-old said: "Back when I was diagnosed it was medieval the treatments, I'd two stem cell transplants before I was eligible to use the tablets.

"It can be soul destroying having to spend hours at the hospital having chemotherapy."

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The father-of-two added: "Now can all I have to do is pop a pill each day, I have consultations over the phone and it is freeing, this will transform people's lives."

Patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma and those who have had one prior treatment will now be able to access the drug following a decision by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) last week.

It brings England in line with the rest of the UK, with patients having been able to access the drug since 2015 in Scotland, and 2016 in Northern Ireland and Wales.

Oxford Mail:

Dr Karthik Ramasamy, Consultant Haematologist at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, said it marked a ‘significant change’ in treatment and part of trials of the drug had been carried out in the city.

He added: “We are delighted by the approval. Patients are often elderly and so anything that can keep them at home and improve their quality of life is important."

While the blood cancer is incurable, treatment can often help to control the condition for several years. Every year in the UK, approximately 5,700 people are diagnosed with the rare condition, which is often not picked up on for years as symptoms such as tiredness, repeated infections and weakened bones are misdiagnosed.

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Mr Kelly said: "I probably went to the doctors 12-15 times in 12 months about different things before I broke a vertebrae in my back and I was tested.

"I'm quite unusual because I was so young but I would urge anyone to be aware if they recognise those symptoms."