Loose Women star flashes breasts outside parliament after special cause is ‘ignored for too long’

Nadia Sawalha is using her platform to shout about a cause that’s important to her (Picture: Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

Nadia Sawalha has made a bold statement by stripping off outside Parliament.

The Loose Women panelist was joined by 30 other women who all showed their breasts in a bid to get attention from the government, after feeling previous tactics to get a response hadn’t worked.

The group is campaigning for a drug called Enhertu, also known as trastuzumab deruxtecan, a targeted biological therapy which interferes with processes in cells that help cancer grow. It is currently available in Scotland and 14 other countries, but not currently in England and Wales.

The campaigners came together as a group of 31 to represent the lives lost to metastatic breast cancer each day in the UK. Each had their chests painted by artist Sophie Tea in colourful paint, which was revealed as they took their position in London’s parliamentary square.

Nadia, 59, who was proud to be part of the collective said: ‘We are here to be heard. If this is what it takes to turn heads back in our direction and put Enhertu back on the agenda, so be it. We have been ignored for too long.’

The women all chanted ‘Enhertu now,’ as they stood closely together in front of the Houses of Parliament, with some women holding hands and clearly emotional.

After the photo call, Nadia reflected on how it felt to be part of the powerful statement with Metro.co.uk: ‘It was the most strange feeling.

‘I could feel all the women around me shaking,’ she recalled. ‘There’s a real sense of urgency, and it was a lot.

‘It was huge. Those few moments were huge.’

Nadia joined 30 other women (Picture: Lucy North/PA Wire)

‘As women we’re used to going “tada, here we are, here’s our boobs” and it’s not that,’ she continued.

‘At one point a photographer asked some of us to put our arms up and it was like, “No, we’re not here empowered braless women”. We’re here desperate to get this government to get things moving.’

‘We thought that we weren’t going to be able to do it and that we’d be moved off. We were sort of planning that we might have to have a bit of a battle. We were a bit thrown off that we could just do it,’ Nadia added.

The TV star had to overcome personal insecurities to partake in the protest, but reminded herself of the bigger picture to conquer the barrier.

‘I have never in my entire life gone topless. I don’t even look at my own boobs,’ she shared.

‘I’ve always had a very weird relationship with my boobs. I literally can’t believe I’m here, or that I’ve just done that. I said to the girls this morning, “I am scared but then I thought but nothing’s as scary as cancer so just shut the f**k up and get on with it”.’

Nadia explained to Metro why she took part (Picture: Mark Thomas/Shutterstock)

Nadia was the only person who doesn’t have or hasn’t had breast cancer out of the 31 women, so she spent her time talking to the other participants. Hearing their stories only drove home further why she was there. Nadia told us they were ‘running around’ her mind as she showed her body art.

‘There’s a person here today who’s lost her husband to cancer and then five months later, she got breast cancer. She has three children. They were totally terrified and thank God, she’s just still in primary breast cancer, but she could be one of these people in the future that needs this drug,’ she stated.

‘The women in England have as much right as the women in Scotland and Wales to have this treatment.’

It was an emotional day for the women taking part (Picture: Mark Thomas/Shutterstock)

Although, the women were certain what they wanted to do, Nadia describes herself as ‘accidentally involved in a campaign’ after her friend wasn’t able to get the treatment. She’s even been involved in a meeting with AstraZeneca and NHS England, and former MP Penny Mordaunt, who Nadia felt ‘really listened’.

‘I thought “Here we go. We’ve got them back talking”.

‘But then there’s been six weeks for an election, and these women are waiting and possibly dying. It’s time for us to shout again because we were so close. We felt we were close. We’ve got to get them back around the table.‘

Patients, campaigners, and charities say they have been lobbying decision-makers for months to approve the life-prolonging treatment for women with a subtype of incurable breast cancer called HER2-LOW but claim they have been met with a ‘deafening silence’ in recent weeks.

Nadia said they were there ‘to be heard’ (Picture: Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

Initially reviewed by NICE in September 2023, a provisional no from the medicines approval organisation led to a Breast Cancer Now petition, which has gained nearly 300,000 signatures.

Patients then met with deciders in May, but Nadia’s best friend Hannah Gardner, 38, feels the campaign group has been ‘ignored’ since the meeting.

‘We feel ignored. It’s been over two months since patients met with NICE, NHS England, Daiichi Sankyo and Astrazeneca at an APPG in parliament and were promised the key players would get back around the table to thrash out a deal,’ said Hannah.

‘But it hasn’t come. Nothing has changed and the treatment remains out of reach for the 1,000 women a year it’s thought it would benefit.’

Hannah, who has breast cancer, hopes to be prescribed Enhertu so she can spend more time with her four-year-old daughter. 

Nadia and Hannah are close friends and have been campaigning together (Picture: Instagram/ realhouseofhannah)

Breast cancer survivor and campaigner Helen Addis, who works as Features Editor on Lorraine, added: ‘Enhertu is rightly available in Scotland and 14 other European countries but how can we have such health inequality within the UK? It’s a postcode lottery like no other. It’s scandalous.’

When contacted by Metro.co.uk, a NICE spokesperson said: ‘We were disappointed not to be able to recommend Enhertu for use in the NHS for advanced HER2-low breast cancer after chemotherapy.

‘As we made clear during our evidence session to the recent Health Select Committee, a price making it a cost-effective use of NHS resources being offered by Daiichi Sankyo and AstraZeneca could resolve this issue almost immediately. That is the fastest and only guaranteed way of ensuring women get access to this treatment without further delay.

‘As part of the NICE appraisal process, NHS England has already engaged in a period of commercial negotiation on this drug in the HER2-low indication. NICE and NHS England have been clear that we remain open to further discussions to enable patient access to this treatment.

‘Following the Committee’s session, and a meeting with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer on the same day, NICE took the decision on 10 May to pause the publication of its final guidance on this topic. The aim of the exceptional pause is to allow all parties to reach a rapid commercial solution that enables patient access to this treatment.

‘NICE remains committed to ensuring we get the best care to patients while ensuring value for the taxpayer.’

Loose Women airs weekdays from 12.30pm on ITV1.

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