- Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick and PEI still denying patients the
standard of care -
TORONTO, July 2 /CNW/ - The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada
(CCAC) congratulates the Ontario Ministry of Health on its commitment to
fighting colorectal cancer. Earlier this year, the Ministry launched a
provincial screening program, ColonCancerCheck, and today has approved public
funding of Avastin (bevacizumab).
"We are extremely pleased that Ontario will be funding Avastin, the
standard of care, and making it available to patients with advanced disease.
This is something we have been advocating for, and we will continue to across
Canada," said Barry D. Stein, president of the Colorectal Cancer Association
Ontario joins British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Quebec, Newfoundland, and
Nova Scotia in providing public reimbursement of Avastin. "This means that
thousands of first-line metastatic colorectal cancer patients in Ontario will
be offered Avastin, an innovative biologic medication which prolongs life in
patients, and for some may offer a cure when coupled with surgery," Stein
Concerning the Ontario government's additional announcement today that it
intends to require the K-ras mutation test, a test that indicates which
patients are more likely to benefit from certain treatments, namely Vectibix
and Erbitux, the CCAC hopes the province will provide its funding. "This is
an important test and will provide patients with the opportunity for
tailor-made treatments," said Stein.
Despite Health Canada's approval of Avastin 2.5 years ago, four
provinces: Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, have yet
to fund Avastin. "Treating patients with the best possible care should have
equal priority with prevention and screening. If public funding of Avastin had
been available when it was approved by Health Canada, many people with
colorectal cancer would still be alive today," said Stein.
Consequently, the CCAC launched a public awareness campaign directed at
provincial governments across Canada. The CCAC encourages all Canadians -
including physicians, caregivers, patients, and concerned citizens - to join
the fight for equal access to treatments, by sending a letter to their
provincial politicians at www.colorectal-cancer.ca and clicking on 'Join The
Notes to Editors:
About Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer - cancer of the colon or rectum - is the second-leading
cause of cancer death in Canada. The disease surpasses both breast and
prostate cancer in mortality.
Though over 90 per cent preventable and curable when detected early, an
estimated 21,500 Canadians will be diagnosed with the disease this year, and
approximately 8,900 will die from it.
In 2008, it is estimated that 8,000 Ontarians will be diagnosed with
colorectal cancer this year and about 3,250 people will die from the disease.
An almost equal number of men and women are affected by colorectal
cancer. One in 14 men and one in 16 women in Canada are expected to develop
the disease during their lifetime. One in 27 men and one in 31 women will die
About the CCAC
The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada is the country's leading
non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of colorectal
cancer, supporting patients, and advocating for national screening and timely
access to effective treatments for the disease.
To order free copies of CCAC educational materials on colorectal cancer,
please call the toll-free number 1.877.50.COLON (26566) or in Toronto
For further information:
For further information: or to schedule an interview with a patient or
physician, contact: Barry Stein, president, (514) 944-0200; or Hilary Christo,
CCAC communications, (416) 920-4333, E-mail: email@example.com