Health officials have approved the first new breast cancer drug in a decade to be used by the NHS.

The drug, Eribulin, has received the go-ahead from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) after recent trials showed that it improves the length and quality of life for those whose cancer has spread after two rounds of chemotherapy.

NICE has stated that the drug’s manufacturer will be able to provide the drug on the basis that its price remains low as part of the Patient Access Scheme.

In England, 1,500 women a year suffer from locally advanced breast cancer, which develops in one specific area of the body. Following diagnosis, the life expectancy is sadly only two years.

It is hoped, however, that access to this drug will see the life expectancy of a breast cancer patients with locally advanced and metastatic cancer extended by an average of three months and that similar therapies will also be approved.

It is expected that NHS Wales will follow NICE’s rulings on the drug, which will see patients in Wales also benefit from the new treatment. The Scottish Medicines Consortium approved Eribulin in March 2016.

According to charity Breast Cancer Support almost 55,000 people are diagnosed with the disease every year - the equivalent of one person every 10 minutes - making it the most common form of cancer in the UK. While many diagnosed with breast cancer survive beyond five years, the disease still accounts for nearly 12,000 deaths every year.

Corrina Mottram, clinical negligence solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Breast cancer continues to affect thousands of people every year, so it’s hugely welcome when there is progress in treatment that allows those suffering with the disease to increase their life expectancy and quality of life.

“However welcome this treatment will be for those already suffering from breast cancer, the government must not be allowed to step back on the substantial continuous investment needed for the NHS to provide vital day to day treatment and drugs for anyone suffering cancer in the UK.

“The number of people suffering with breast cancer remains far too high. If this is to decrease, more must be invested into prevention and early diagnoses to try and avoid families suffering the heartache of diagnosis.”