MONTREAL, April 17, 2012 /CNW/ -The CML Society of Canada commends the Ontario government for the recent decision to add Sprycel (dasatinib) and Tasigna (nilotinib) to the list of CML (chronic myelogenous leukemia) treatments reimbursed in first line, giving patients newly diagnosed with CML more treatment options earlier. As patient advocates for equal access to all available therapies, the CML Society of Canada feels it is important that governments are aware that it is critical to get patients on 'the right drug at the right dose at the right time to ensure that they achieve the best possible response to drug therapy' and make decisions that ensure that doctors can prescribe the therapy they believe is most appropriate for the patient, without limitation.
"As a treating physician it is important to have unrestricted access to proven treatments for our patients," explains Dr. Jeff Lipton, medical oncologist and Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. "Having a number of established options available in first line allows us to individualize treatment strategies to achieve the best possible outcomes, reduce toxicities and work around the medical conditions that a patient may have."
CML Society Launches Survey to Gather Insight into the Patient Experience on Therapy to Help Optimize Treatment Decisions
"For newly diagnosed patients, having access to different treatment options is a critical first step," said Cheryl-Anne Simoneau, President and CEO of the CML Society of Canada, who was diagnosed with the cancer eleven years ago. "Gathering insight into the patient's real-life experience with drug therapy is an important undertaking that will provide valuable information to help the health care team better manage CML patients and improve their quality of life."
The CML Society of Canada is launching a web based quantitative survey to gain insight into how CML treatment impacts patients' lives. The results of the survey will provide important findings to support physician treatment choices. CML patients are encouraged to complete the online questionnaire by accessing the CML Society of Canada website from mid April to mid May (www.cmlsociety.org) and following the path to the questionnaire. Results will be presented at an international congress later this year and provided to treating physicians and provincial governments.
CML is one of four types of leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. The disease is driven by a chromosomal abnormality acquired after birth which causes an overproduction of white blood cells.
A routine blood test is the first step in diagnosing and staging of the disease. The vast majority of patients with CML receiving one of these new targeted therapies achieves remission that is maintained with continued therapy and close monitoring.
In Canada, approximately 460 new cases of CML are diagnosed each year representing one case for every 100,000 people. It is estimated that approximately 4,500 Canadians are currently living with this very rare form of leukemia which can strike at any age, although it primarily occurs during or after the middle years of life.
The treatment of CML with these new therapies is an unprecedented success story in the management of cancer, in general. These treatments are leading the way to a likely cure for CML, the best outcome for all CML patients.
About the CML Society of Canada
Established in 2006, the CML Society provides support, education and information on CML, current and emerging treatments and research initiatives for people living with CML and their families. Through these efforts and ongoing advocacy, the CML Society advances its mission to help reduce suffering and improve care and the quality of life of CML patients. For more information, please refer to www.cmlsociety.org.
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