Advanced melanoma patients in these provinces now have access to best available treatments
MONTREAL, Nov. 8, 2012 /CNW/ - The Save Your Skin Foundation is delighted with the decision by the Alberta and British Columbia governments to give access to two new treatments (Yervoy and Zelboraf) for metastatic melanoma to patients in those provinces.
"These treatments are practice-changing and certainly give us a chance to provide better outcomes for people with advanced melanoma," said Dr. Michael Smylie a medical oncologist at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton. "Physicians have been eagerly waiting for funding for Yervoy and Zelboraf so patients can have the chance to benefit from these advancements."
A positive decision for these treatments is recognition that time is critical for advanced melanoma patients. Advanced melanoma is fatal disease with a median overall survival of just six to nine months, and 75% of patients die within one year. Prior to the approval of Yervoy and Zelboraf there was no evidence that any reimbursed treatment could significantly affect prognosis. These latest decisions come at a time when the Quebec government is assessing the value of Yervoy and Zelboraf.
"I am evidence of the importance of Yervoy and its potential for long-term survival," said Kathy Barnard, President of the Save Your Skin Foundation and a melanoma patient herself who received the treatment as part of a clinical trial five years ago. "These are game-changing treatment options and all Canadians with advanced melanoma, no matter where they live should have access to the best available treatments. We are expecting a decision from the Quebec government on November 15 and we hope they follow the lead of the other provinces."
The significant progress these treatments represent for patients has also been recognized by the governments of Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, who have previously announced funding for Yervoy and Zelboraf for patients in those provinces. Adding to the positive news for advanced melanoma patients is a recent decision in the UK where the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) announced it will make Yervoy and Zelboraf available to patients in England and Wales through the National Health Services (NHS).
About Melanoma in Canada
Every year, thousands of Canadians are diagnosed with melanoma, with the incidence of the disease increasing faster than that of any other cancer. Melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer characterized by the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) located in the skin. One in 74 men and 1 in 90 women in Canada are expected to develop melanoma during their lifetime; 1 in 284 Canadian men and 1 in 486 Canadian women will die of it. Melanoma is clearly visible on the skin, and 90 per cent of melanomas are caused by exposure to UV light, including tanning beds.
About the Save Your Skin Foundation
The Save Your Skin Foundation is a Canadian not-for-profit foundation. Through events and other initiatives, the Foundation focuses on: raising funds for education and awareness, providing emotional and financial support to those dealing with melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers, and on supporting the ongoing research and treatment of skin cancer - especially melanoma.
Donations go towards providing critical and timely treatments, as well as ongoing education, research, and awareness initiatives.
For more information, please visit www.saveyourskin.ca.
SOURCE: Save Your Skin Foundation
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President, Save Your Skin Foundation