I am a Co-Chair for the Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer and work closely with the charity Breast Cancer Now.
I recently wrote to the Department of Health on this issue:
"To ask the Secretary of State for Health, with reference to the article in The Lancet, Adjuvant bisphosonphate treatment in early breast cancer: meta-analyses of individual patient data from randomised trials, published in July 2015, what steps he has taken to ensure that bisphosphonates for the indication of preventing secondary breast cancer are routinely available to the patients who need them."
I received the following response from the Under Secretary of State for Health:
" The Independent Cancer Taskforce report included a specific recommendation on the use of adjuvant bisphosphonates for treating people with breast cancer. We understand that NHS England is working to realise the ambitions set out in the report and will publish an update on progress made soon.
National prescribing arrangements already allow for bisphosphonates to be prescribed for the prevention of secondary breast cancer.
Updated guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence on the use of adjuvant bisphosphonates for the management of breast cancer treatment-induced bone loss, taking into account the latest available evidence, is expected in July 2018."
I have also been informed that national prescribing arrangements already allow for bisphosphonates to be prescribed for the prevention of secondary breast cancer. Decisions about the funding of bisphosphonates for this use are taken by local clinical commissioning groups which are best placed to know what local need exists.
I am aware that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is currently updating its advice to the NHS on the diagnosis and management of early and locally advanced breast cancer. The use of bisphosphonates is included in its scope and will be considered as part of the update, which is expected in July 2018.