A BLOOD cancer treatment is now available on the NHS, after a Northallerton woman said it had been 'life-changing'.

Sarah Williamson, 43, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in March 2015.

She later joined a clinical trial which has enabled her to be treated with the daily pill which has led to her cancer being in remission for five years.

Typical remission for this type of cancer is two years without treatment.

Sarah said: "I am delighted that the drug is now available for more myeloma patients. Not just for a small number of people on clinical trials, it is available to everyone.

"It has been a life-changing treatment for me if I think of the difference that it's made prolonging my remission."

On Tuesday (January 27) it was announced that lenalidomide, the treatment was recommended for newly diagnosed multiple myeloma in adults.

From Tuesday, approximately 1,150 eligible patients in England will have immediate access to lenalidomide as a treatment option.

Lenalidomide is the first treatment to be made available on the NHS in this setting and provides an alternative to the standard ‘watch-and-wait’ approach, allowing patients to receive active treatment to keep their cancer in remission.

Sarah said: "I've had five years of remission - I've been able to get back to living a normal life. There's a lot of people that I know that don't even know I have cancer."

Graham Jackson, Professor of Clinical Haematology at Newcastle Upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Multiple myeloma is a relapsing remitting disease where the goal of treatment is to ensure long periods of remission and a good quality of life. Maintenance therapy is integral to achieving this, particularly for newly diagnosed patients who have received a stem cell transplant.

"Having lenalidomide within our treatment armoury on the NHS will transform the way we manage the early stages of multiple myeloma. In clinical studies maintenance therapy has been shown to almost double the initial period of remission for this group of patients, so it is fantastic to be able to offer active treatment which can help to keep the cancer at bay.”

Multiple myeloma is a cancer that affects the production of plasma cells in the bone marrow and in turn impacts the body’s immune system.