Former umpire suffering from kidney cancer November 19, 2007

Plews now eligible for cancer drug

Cricinfo staff

Nigel Plews, the former Test umpire, has been told he can receive life-prolonging drugs to help treat his kidney cancer.

Plews, who stood in 11 Tests and 16 ODIs between 1986 and 1996, was diagnosed with the illness in March by which time the cancer was inoperable. Although there is a drug - Sutent - which can slow the progress of the disease, he was initially refused it because Nottinghamshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) said the overall benefit of the drug to patients was not sufficient to justify funding. The drugs costs £20,000 a year.

But the publicity which followed the decision has led to a rethink and the Trust has now said Plews will receive the treatment.

"I wanted to live and the drug that they can give ... it doesn't cure you ... it just extends your life," Plews said. "That was the sole purpose of going through with it. The people that follow me are more important. They should get it without having to go through what I did."

When the news first broke Plews was inundated with support and Darrell Hair took up the case and obtained £4,000 in funding from cricket organisations and a cricketers' welfare charity. That money will now be returned.