Nadia Sawalha’s Topless Protest for Breast Cancer

Nadia Sawalha’s Topless Protest for Breast Cancer

Nadia Sawalha went topless outside Parliament on Wednesday as she made a bold statement for breast cancer. 

The Loose Women panelist, 59, joined a group of 31 women, all of whom have been affected by the disease, to campaign for a ‘game-changing’ new drug. 

31 represents the number of lives that are lost to metastatic breast cancer each day in the UK. 

The women stripped off in a desperate bid ‘to be seen’ and heard by the new government, with their chests painted by artist Sophie Tea. 

The group were decorated with a range of powerful messages including ‘We could be your sister’, ‘Our lives count’, ‘Help us to live’ and asking ‘Now do you see us?’. 

Nadia Sawalha’s Topless Protest for Breast Cancer

Nadia Sawalha, 59, went topless outside Parliament on Wednesday as she made a bold statement for breast cancer

The Loose Women panelist joined a group of 31 women, all of whom have been affected by the disease, to campaign for a 'game-changing' new drug

The Loose Women panelist joined a group of 31 women, all of whom have been affected by the disease, to campaign for a ‘game-changing’ new drug

The drug, Enhertu is available in Scotland and 14 other countries, but not currently in England and Wales.

Nadia, patients, campaigners and charities have been lobbying decision makers for months to approve the life-prolonging treatment for women with a subtype of incurable breast cancer called HER2-LOW but have been met by what they call a ‘deafening silence’ in recent weeks.

‘We are here to be heard. If this is what it takes to turn heads back in our direction and put Enhertu back on the agenda, so be it. We have been ignored for too long,’ she said. 

In March, Nadia broke down in tears as she told MailOnline about her ‘powerhouse’ pal Hannah Gardner – who has stage four incurable breast cancer, which has now spread to her liver.

The Loose Woman star and her friend Hannah, 37, were left ‘reeling’ after learning a pioneering cancer drug was blocked for use in England.

Nadia condemned the decision by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence who said that the cost the NHS was being asked to pay for trastuzumab deruxtecan – known as Enhertu – was ‘too high’. 

The TV personality revealed that Enhertu has the potential of giving her close friend Hannah, who has a three-year-old daughter, another six months of life.

In an exclusive interview, Nadia told MailOnline: ‘We’ve got this young woman, with a young autistic child, with secondary breast cancer in her liver, in her lung, and she’s also supposed to be basically begging for this drug. And it just seems brutal.’ 

'We are here to be heard. If this is what it takes to turn heads back in our direction and put Enhertu back on the agenda, so be it. We have been ignored for too long,' she said

‘We are here to be heard. If this is what it takes to turn heads back in our direction and put Enhertu back on the agenda, so be it. We have been ignored for too long,’ she said

In March, Nadia broke down in tears as she told MailOnline about her 'powerhouse' pal Hannah Gardner - who has stage four incurable breast cancer, which has now spread to her liver

In March, Nadia broke down in tears as she told MailOnline about her ‘powerhouse’ pal Hannah Gardner – who has stage four incurable breast cancer, which has now spread to her liver 

The Loose Woman star, 59, and her friend Hannah, 37, (pictured) were left 'reeling' after learning a pioneering cancer drug was blocked for use in England

The Loose Woman star, 59, and her friend Hannah, 37, (pictured) were left ‘reeling’ after learning a pioneering cancer drug was blocked for use in England

Nadia gushed: ‘She’s a powerhouse and I do worry about that because she needs to also be looking after herself, but we’ve got her, you know, me and our group of friends are very engaged and there for in every way.

‘We’re a group of friends, we all met on a trek raising money for breast cancer, about seven years ago, there’s four of us, we call ourselves the Fab Four and we say we’re holding you…’

Fighting back tears, Nadia continued: ‘She’s the youngest one in the group and she was diagnosed 11 years ago and she’s been on such a wheel, she’s been told that she’s had cancer four times and she never falters.

‘I’ve seen her be given so much bad news just in the the years that I’ve known her and she breaks for like a minute. It’s really strange to watch and it might sound like a weird thing but it’s always a privilege to watch, she’s so focused and I love watching her with the oncologists who are just all fantastic and the way that she advocates and talks about the drug.’

Hannah, a former clinical trial manage, issued a devastating health update on Wednesday, explaining that the tumours in her liver are growing.

She was given her primary breast cancer diagnosis in 2013 after discovering a lump in her left breast, and after undergoing treatment, the disease has returned twice, in 2017 and again 2020.

In June 2022, Hannah received the heartbreaking news that she has stage four incurable breast cancer, which has now spread to her liver.

The TV personality revealed that Enhertu has the potential of giving her close friend Hannah, who has a three-year-old daughter, another six months of life

The TV personality revealed that Enhertu has the potential of giving her close friend Hannah, who has a three-year-old daughter, another six months of life

In an exclusive interview, Nadia told MailOnline: 'She's a powerhouse and I do worry about that because she needs to also be looking after herself, but we've got her, you know, me and our group of friends are very engaged and there for in every way.'

In an exclusive interview, Nadia told MailOnline: ‘She’s a powerhouse and I do worry about that because she needs to also be looking after herself, but we’ve got her, you know, me and our group of friends are very engaged and there for in every way.’

Holding back tears, Nadia continued: 'She's the youngest one in the group and she was diagnosed 11 years ago and she's been on such a wheel, she's been told that she's had cancer four times and she never falters.' (Nadia and Hannah on Loose Women'

Holding back tears, Nadia continued: ‘She’s the youngest one in the group and she was diagnosed 11 years ago and she’s been on such a wheel, she’s been told that she’s had cancer four times and she never falters.’ (Nadia and Hannah on Loose Women’

Now, Hannah has explained on Instagram: ‘I’ve been hit with probably the worst news I’ve had yet. Progression. All tumours in my liver are growing. There are now four big ones with lots of little spots popping up. I’m scared, I can’t lie.’

Hannah waited months to learn whether she would be eligible for groundbreaking new treatment Enhertu, and said she was ‘crushed’ to learn it had been blocked by the NHS. 

Enhertu is the first licensed targeted treatment for patients with HER2-low breast cancer, that cannot be removed surgically or has spread to other parts of the body, also known as metastatic breast cancer.

Chemotherapy is usually offered as a treatment, but if the targeted therapy had been made available, around 1,000 patients a year would have been eligible.

Trials of the drug found it boosted the time the cancer was held at bay from seven months to over two years – results that were called ‘mind-blowing’ by experts. 

Nadia says every minute counts with the terminal disease, and the drug would give Hannah precious time to make more happy memories with daughter Lilah. 

She explained: ‘We want that drug available to them. It’s a great drug that targets the tumour and doesn’t blast the whole body, you know, we need it.

‘I think anybody that you speak to in the secondary breast cancer community will say they feel that they are pushed to one side.

‘It is like a punch in the stomach, we are absolutely reeling.’

Speaking on how the drug could give Hannah six more months of life, Nadia said: ‘For Hannah, she wants to hear her child say just even one word with her being autistic, so that she knows she’s gonna be all right.’

While the NHS in England blocked use of the drug, it has been allowed in Scotland, and after Nadia shared Hannah’s story on social media, she was inundated with offers from well-wishers offering their address for her friend to register. 

Nadia says every minute counts with the terminal disease, and the drug would give Hannah precious time to make more happy memories with daughter Lilah and her husband

Nadia says every minute counts with the terminal disease, and the drug would give Hannah precious time to make more happy memories with daughter Lilah and her husband

Speaking on how the drug could give Hannah six more months of life, Nadia said: 'For Hannah, she wants to hear her child say just even one word with her being autistic, so that she knows she's gonna be all right.

Speaking on how the drug could give Hannah six more months of life, Nadia said: ‘For Hannah, she wants to hear her child say just even one word with her being autistic, so that she knows she’s gonna be all right.

An NHS spokesperson said: ‘NHS England expected drug companies AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo to offer this treatment at a price that would enable Nice to recommend its use for patients with secondary breast cancer.

‘We are deeply disappointed that AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo have not been willing to price this treatment to enable approval, therefore denying NHS patients the opportunity to access this latest advance in care.’

AstraZeneca UK’s President says: ‘This is a devastating decision and one which is out of step with other countries including Scotland. Sadly, the rigid application of a flawed methodology has here been prioritised ahead of doing what’s right for breast cancer patients in England and Wales.

‘This sits extremely uncomfortably and we call on NICE to reverse this decision and expedite an urgent review of their disease severity modifier, in this case it clearly isn’t working in the interests of patients.’

Nadia and Hannah are not accepting the drug being blocked and have planned to visit parliament on Monday to talk to Craig Tracey MP about next steps and how to put as much pressure as they can on government.

Nadia explained: ‘We are fighting this all the way. I believe we have got to try for those other women so they don’t feel like they’re being forgotten. We’ve got to give people hope and that’s what we’re working towards.’

Breast Cancer Now’s petition, which currently has more than 126,000 signatures, is calling on NICE, NHS England and the drug companies Daiichi Sankyo and AstraZeneca, to do everything possible to find a solution that makes Enhertu available on the NHS.

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