TO BE told out of the blue that you might only have a year to live and in the meantime you will have to fight a very aggressive form of cancer is devastating news.

And the next bitter blow comes with the follow up that there is possibly some hope in a particular, gentler treatment than standard chemotherapy – but that it isn’t available in this country.

So who decides on what treatment can be offered in this country and how is that decision made?

We ask because some of the so-called treatments being offered on the NHS are a little eyebrow-raising to say the least.

There is something odd and decidedly distasteful about a national health service that is carrying out breast implants and gastric bands free of charge for mainly cosmetic reasons when it cannot offer a life-saving treatment.

For 40 years of her working life Tessa Elam has worked in a profession where she selflessly cared for others.

She chose to specialise as a community nurse, taking care of elderly and psychiatric patients often at the end of their lives.

She says she chose that route because there was little hope and so it was not a popular choice for nurses.

This is where she felt she was most needed and her family are rightly proud of their “very special mum”.

It is ironic now that when Tessa herself needs help where there is little hope there is nowhere for her to turn in her own country.

Her family has amazingly scraped together enough money to take her to Mexico and at least make a start on treatment that might save her life.

It is a terrible position to be in and now time and money is running out.

Tessa needs help and we are asking SNJ readers to dig deep.

Tessa’s treatment may or may not work but at least we can all say we tried.