Islington cancer sufferer refused funding for life-saving treatment

16:50 22 September 2012

Hakki Altinock has been battling cancer for three years

Hakki Altinock has been battling cancer for three years


A cancer sufferer has been denied funding for life-saving treatment for the second time in his three-year battle against the disease.

NHS North Central London has refused Hakki Altinok, of Elia Street, Islington, a pioneering type of radiation therapy recommended by his consultant at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Surrey to treat a small tumour in the middle of his brain.

The lump was discovered when the 65-year-old underwent successful brain surgery in March to remove another larger tumour from behind his ear.

Doctors have since decided that the best chance of curing the remaining shadow lies in the CyberKnife treatment, which uses precise pencil beams of radiation to treat cancers once thought to be inoperable.

Mr Altinok was also refused funding for a cancer drug on his diagnosis of renal kidney cancer back in 2009 – but NHS Islington eventually granted his appeal against the decision after the Gazette and MP for Islington South and Finsbury, Emily Thornberry, took up the case.

Although the cancer was not cured, the subsequent treatment has allowed Mr Altinok to have a good quality of life and the grandfather of five has been left devastated by the latest refusal for funding.

He said: “It feels like the PCT has handed me a death sentence, only this time it will be a painful death. Other boroughs have granted applications for this treatment which will actually cure the tumour and it won’t require ongoing treatment.

“Without the most effective treatment, I won’t just die, I will slowly lose the functions of my brain and die slowly and painfully, killing my whole family with me.”

Other treatment options involve further surgery or painful, less accurate radiotherapy sessions – and Mr Altinok said his consultant is adamant this will put his health and long-term recovery at risk and force him to come off medication to keep the cancer affecting his lungs under control.

Ms Thornberry has written to NHS North Central London urging them to grant Mr Altinok’s funding as soon as possible, to avoid any further delay and deterioration in his condition. She said: “Having successfully fought the cancer so bravely for so many years, I can completely understand why Mr Altinok thinks it’s critical to take his consultant’s advice and is so desperate to access this relatively painless and non-invasive treatment.”

A spokesman for NHS North Central London said: “We take the needs of individual patients very seriously indeed, but we are required to balance these against the needs of the whole population we serve when we are spending NHS resources.”

She said the trust looked very closely at each request for treatment not routinely funded by the NHS.

She claimed there was no robust evidence showing the CyberKnife treatment is more clinically effective than other more readily available treatments.

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
2 3 4 5 6

Latest London politics news

Friday, November 27, 2015
Thousands will march for ambitious action on the climate crisis by governments internationally (Picture: PeoplesMarch)

The People’s March for Climate, Justice and Jobs will pass through central London on Sunday November 29 with more than 7,000 people from all around the UK. Here is a guide to the march - why it’s happening, where to go and what will be going on.

Friday, November 27, 2015
The Chief Inspector of Hospitals has recommended the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust is placed into special measures (Picture: PA Images)

Health watchdog CQC has said the London Ambulance Service (LAS) NHS Trust should be placed into special measures as it is ‘performing poorly’ and has been rated ‘inadequate’.

Thursday, November 26, 2015
Plane Stupid protesters blocked the tunnel leading into Heathrow Airport (Picture: Plane Stupid)

Plane Stupid climate change activists have blocked the inbound tunnel to Heathrow in a protest against airport expansion.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Aerial view of proposed Rotherhithe Bridge [image: reForm Architects]

Plans to build a new bridge across the Thames between Canary Wharf and Rotherhithe on either side have reached completion in a new feasibility study.

The proposed ‘Rotherhithe Bridge’ would have the longest bascule span in the world, at 600ft (184m), for use by pedestrians and cyclists.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Junior doctors held a massive protest in London last month over the contracts and now plan to strike for three days in December (Picture: Naomi Ackerman/ London24)

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt today agreed to negotiate the junior doctor contract with the British Medical Association (BMA) in talks held by conciliatory service Acas, but the BMA say his consenting so late is ‘political game playing’.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Holloway Prison. Picture: Rebecca Naden/PA

Holloway Prison is to close, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said this afternoon.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...


MAC Makeup

MAC are renowned for their flawless, fabulous make up that is used worldwide by the stars. You too can have the chance to have the perfect makeup to suit your needs with £1,000 to spend on all the glam goodies you like!

Read more

You are never far from an Argos, wherever in the country you may be. They are like a magical cavern where whatever you need they seem to have it out the back behind the counter. So why not put them to the test with this great MyOffers competition to win £1000 to spend in-store.

Read more

Latest Tech News