TORONTO, Nov. 29 /CNW/ - The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada (CCAC) applauds the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care's decision today to provide expanded access of Avastin (bevacizumab) to patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.
"The CCAC congratulates the Ontario government for expanding access to Avastin to colorectal cancer patients with advanced disease," said Barry D. Stein, president of the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada (CCAC). "Ontario patients who have been benefiting from the drug will now be assured of receiving Avastin until progression of their disease. That is a big burden lifted off the shoulders of patients who benefit from the drug and who were concerned they would not be able to continue treatment," Stein said.
"Primary prevention, Screening and Equal and Timely access to effective treatments are the hallmarks of what will improve patient outcomes. Ontario is setting the bar high with access not only to Avastin in first line treatment, but also in third line treatment with access to Vectibix (panatumumab) and Erbitux (cetuxiamab)," Stein added.
For the past year, the CCAC has been calling for equal and timely access to effective treatments across the country through its "Join the Fight" campaign. Following last week's decision in New Brunswick to implement both colorectal cancer screening and provide access to Avastin, the campaign will now focus on helping patients in PEI and those in Manitoba that do not have publicly funded access to Avastin, as well as access across the country to third line treatment with Vectibix and Erbitux in those provinces that do not already provide same.
The Association strongly advocates that treatments be approved for use with all reasonable combinations of chemotherapies for colorectal cancer affording physicians and patients the best choice of treatment in the circumstances.
"Our goal is to ensure that the mortality rate from this disease falls as much as possible through primary prevention and screening and to ensure that those patients already touched by the disease are afforded every chance possible to find a cure and prolong their lives," Stein said.
The CCAC will be including the message of primary prevention (diet and exercise) and screening as it tours the country with its 40' long Giant Colon exhibits, in the months ahead. The exhibits help to educate the public on the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer and other diseases of the colon. "The CCAC is extremely supportive of provincial screening programs such as Ontario's Colon Cancer Check and we will do everything we can to help bring awareness about these important initiatives," Stein said.
Notes to Editors
About Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer - cancer of the colon or rectum - is the second-leading cause of cancer death in Canada. Though highly preventable and curable when detected early, an estimated 22,000 Canadians are estimated to be diagnosed with the disease this year, and sadly approximately 9,100 will die from it. An almost equal number of men and women are affected by colorectal cancer. One in 14 men and one in 16 women are expected to develop the disease during their lifetime. One in 27 men and one in 31 women will die from it.
In Ontario 8,100 new colorectal cancer cases (4,400 men - 3,700 women) are estimated for 2009 and 3,300 individuals are estimated to die from it. (1,800 men - 1,500 women)
About the CCAC
The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada (CCAC) is the country's leading non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of colorectal cancer, supporting patients, and advocating for primary prevention and provincial screening programs as well as equal and timely access to effective treatments.
The CCAC maintains one of the top websites in the world providing information on colorectal cancer to patients. Colorectal cancer information is available free of charge from the CCAC in print or on line at www.colorectal-cancer.ca
SOURCE Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada
For further information: For further information: Barry D. Stein, Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada, Tel.: 1-877-50-COLON (26566), or (514) 875-7745, Cell: (514) 944-0200, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org