Craig's Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society pleased national cancer drug funding review agency recognizes benefit of new pancreatic cancer drug

Urges provinces to move quickly to fund first new treatment for pancreatic cancer approved in Canada in 20 years

HALIFAX, Sept. 30, 2014 /CNW/ - Craig's Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society is very pleased that the pan-Canadian Oncology Review (pCODR) has recognized the clinical benefit of Abraxane (nab paclitaxel) in its recently completed review of the new treatment for pancreatic cancer. It urges Canadian provinces to move quickly to work with the drug's manufacturer to ensure it is made available to Canadian patients as soon as possible.

Abraxane is the first new treatment for pancreatic cancer approved in Canada in the past 20 years. The pCODR recommendation recognizes the statistically significant improvement in survival shown by patients treated with Abraxane in clinical trials.

"We desperately need new treatment for pancreatic cancer because it has the lowest survival rate of all cancers and has so few treatment options," said Stefanie Condon-Oldreive, founder of Craig's Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society. "Pancreatic cancer is merciless and, for many, it is terminal. Abraxane offers patients a new treatment option and could possibly increase length of survival. Most of all, what Abraxane brings to Canadians who receive the devastating diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, is hope."  Craig's Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society hopes that this new option will help encourage dialogue between patients and physicians about available treatment options, which could potentially impact their quality of life and improve longevity.

Abraxane was approved in July by Health Canada as a treatment for pancreatic cancer. However, new cancer drugs are then evaluated by pCODR on behalf of all provinces (except Quebec) to make a recommendation to provincial drug plans whether they should fund the treatment. The pCODR recommendations are not binding on the provinces.

"When you're diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, time is not on your side. We urge all the provinces to act quickly to provide funding for Abraxane so no Canadian with pancreatic cancer is denied a chance to live longer," added Stefanie Condon-Oldreive. "People with this disease simply cannot afford to wait." Research shows an increase in months of survival when chemotherapy is administered following surgery for pancreatic cancer or for palliation. The long-awaited arrival of Abraxane is significant for the pancreatic cancer community and will bring renewed hope and discussion about treatment options between patients and their health care providers.

About pancreatic cancer in Canada
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of all cancer deaths in Canada and is the cancer with the highest fatality rate. It is the only top-ten cancer with a five-year survival rate still in single digits, at 6%. It is expected 4,700 Canadians will be diagnosed with the disease this year and 4,400 will die from it. A staggering 74% will not survive the first year; most live just 3 to 6 months. There is no reliable screening test and because there are generally no symptoms in the early stages, or they are vague and dismissed by doctors and patients, it is often very advanced when diagnosed.

About Craig's Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society
Craig's Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society was founded in 2006 in memory of Craig Schurman Condon, who lost his life to pancreatic cancer eight weeks after diagnosis. Craig's Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society has grown into a national charitable society whose aim is to increase awareness, education, support and research funding. One hundred per cent of the funds raised goes to pancreatic cancer research.  Craig's Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society will continue to raise significant funds for research through the Society's Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Walks. For more information, please visit www.craigscause.ca.

SOURCE: Craig's Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society

For further information: Stefanie Condon-Oldreive, Craig's Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society, 902-827-5811, stefanie@craigscause.ca

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