Alberta Lagging Behind in Cancer Drug Approval

    TORONTO, Sept. 2 /CNW/ - The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada
(CCAC) is calling on the province of Alberta to step up to the plate and fund
Avastin, an important medication in the treatment of colorectal cancer.
    Avastin is an innovative medication which targets the blood vessels that
feed tumours, cutting off their blood supply. This halts tumour progression
and can lead to shrinkage in combination with chemotherapy. Avastin has been
shown to extend life in patients and offer a potential cure in some when
coupled with surgery.
    Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Quebec, Newfoundland, and Nova
Scotia all now provide public reimbursement of Avastin - the time has come for
Alberta to do the same.
    Barry Stein, president of the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada
says, "Alberta needs to stop denying their citizens the standard of care for
the treatment of colorectal cancer and follow the other provinces in Canada by
providing this important medication."
    "We are receiving calls daily from patients in Alberta who are frustrated
by the province's lack of sensitivity to this issue. It is difficult to
comprehend that Avastin is available on the other sides of the borders of
Alberta, and in most other Canadian provinces. Alberta, one of the wealthiest
provinces in Canada, is dragging its feet and depriving its citizens of one of
the most important medications in the fight against this disease. We urge
Alberta's health minister to ensure Alberta's colorectal cancer patients do
not receive second-class heathcare," says Stein
    Albertans who are interested in asking the Alberta government to fund
Avastin should go the JOIN THE FIGHT section of the CCAC website,, and send a letter online to their MLA requesting
Alberta act on this important issue.

    Notes to Editors:
    About Colorectal Cancer

    Colorectal cancer - cancer of the colon or rectum - is the second-leading
cause of cancer death in Alberta and 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.
    An estimated 1,750 Albertans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer
this year and about 650 will die from the disease.

    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.

For further information:

For further information: or to schedule an interview with Barry Stein,
please contact: Hilary Christo, Communications Officer, (416) 920-4333 ext.

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Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada

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