TWO ‘life-changing’ new kidney cancer drugs have been approved for use in Scotland where experts say they will save lives.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) yesterday published advice accepting Nivolumab and Cabozantinib for use by NHS Scotland.

Both work in different ways and will extend the lives of patients with advanced kidney cancer.

This means that if the first drug is not a success there is a second terminal patients can try.

Karen McNee, regional development manager for Kidney Cancer Scotland, said: “For many of these patients no other medicines are available.

“This has given this group of patients new hope for the future and will extend their life. I have spoken to patients on early access trials who, without these medicines, would have died.

“To quote a young mum with a two-year-old and a five-year-old, ‘This drug has allowed me to make beautiful memories with my daughters.’

“It has been wonderful to see the difference in peoples’ voices and faces today.

“This decision is life changing. It is fantastic.We are so, so pleased.”

Cabozantinib, not yet available in England, Northern Ireland or Wales, is a once-daily oral tablet that targets tumour growth.

Ms McNee added: “Scotland is leading the way with regards to kidney cancer, which is brilliant. So often it is the other way round.”

Professor Robert Jones, Professor of Clinical Cancer Research at Glasgow University, said: “The approval of cabozantinib for use in NHS Scotland is a positive step forward in how we care for people living with advanced renal cell cancer.

“Availability of new therapy options such as cabozantinib is crucial – it gives patients a further effective treatment option and the chance to control their disease for longer.”

Joe McCann, 60, was diagnosed with kidney cancer in June 2013. The dad-of-one had his right kidney removed - but the disease spread to his lungs and into his spine.

Last year he was given the awful news that there were no more treatments available to him, with his oncologist telling him he “would not see Christmas.”

However, after telling his family that the disease was terminal, Joe’s doctor rang to tell him he would be suitable for an early access trial of a new kidney cancer drug, cabozantinib .

Nine months later he is doing well and says the only side effects are stomach upsets and fatigue.

Joe, a plasterer from Toryglen, said: “I’m delighted there are two drugs because if this stops working I know there is something else I can try.

“I had discussed my finances and funeral with my son, Joseph, which was very hard. Telling my family I only had months left was among the hardest things I’ve had to do.

“People maybe don’t realise what big news this is.

“From being told I wouldn’t see Christmas to talking to you now... I can’t believe I’m still here. I feel like Lazarus.”

Nivolumab and Cabozantinib were two of four drugs accepted by the SMC.

Dr Alan MacDonald, chairman of the SMC, said: “The Committee is pleased to be able to accept four new medicines for routine use by NHS Scotland.”