Save Your Skin Foundation urges government to move quickly to make a decision regarding new melanoma treatments - patients don't have time to wait
MONTREAL, Oct. 3, 2012 /CNW/ - The Save Your Skin Foundation is concerned with the recent announcement by the Quebec government to delay a decision on reimbursement of two new treatments (Yervoy and Zelboraf) for metastatic melanoma. Melanoma, the most serious and deadly form of skin cancer, is one of the few cancers to affect young adults and the second most common cancer amongst 15-34 year olds.
Quebec's Institut national d'excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS), which reviews and recommends new treatments for reimbursement in Quebec, announced it is postponing a decision on making two new treatments for metastatic melanoma available, even though it found the treatments to be "promising." Until the introduction of Yervoy and Zelboraf, which each work differently to treat melanoma, no available treatments showed a positive survival impact for people with advanced disease.
"We are very disappointed with this delay because patients with metastatic melanoma simply can't wait," said Kathy Barnard, founder of Save Your Skin Foundation and a melanoma patient herself. "They need access to treatment as soon as possible because delays can make the difference between a treatment being beneficial or not. To be told a treatment is promising but not available is unacceptable and Quebecers with metastatic melanoma deserve better."
The disappointing news from Quebec comes just two weeks after it was announced by the governments of Ontario and Saskatchewan that they will provide Yervoy and Zelboraf to melanoma patients in those provinces. Zelboraf is also now reimbursed in Manitoba.
"Our job is to make sure that all melanoma patients across Canada have access to the treatments they need no matter where they live. We represent patients across Canada and will do whatever it takes to ensure that no patient is left without treatment." said Kathy. "This is very personal for me and I am alive today because I had access to Yervoy. It is vital that every patient be given the same opportunity I had."
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 are expected to develop melanoma during their lifetime; 1 in 284 men and 1 in 486 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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