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Avastin in Canada and Denial Of treatment


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Colorectal Cancer Patients Denied Life-Extending Treatment

CCAC Urges Provinces to Fund Avastin

MONTREAL, March 16 /CNW/ - Health Ministries in several provinces across

the country have recently considered, and in some cases refused, funding for

Avastin (bevacizumab), a targeted therapy and one of the latest advances

approved in Canada in the treatment of colorectal cancer.

Canadians with colorectal cancer have been waiting patiently for the

approval of this medication, which forms part of the standard of care in the

treatment of the disease. It is absolutely critical that colorectal cancer

patients have timely and equal access to the widest range of treatments

available to ensure the best possible outcomes.

The effectiveness of this medication adds significantly to the length of

survival of patients and extends the time to progression of the disease. The

median additional survival demonstrated in trials show only a part of the true

picture. Avastin, combined with other therapies and surgery, may prolong the

life of patients even longer and open the door to a possible cure.

Avastin has been clearly identified as the standard of care in advanced

colorectal cancer in clinical guidelines published in Quebec, British Columbia

and Ontario. It is our opinion that, faced with the fact that there are no

screening programs in place to help catch the disease at a stage when it could

be prevented, provincial governments owe an extra duty of care to patients to

ensure that they receive the standard of treatment they are entitled to.

If patients are forced to pay the additional cost of treatment personally

we will have created a true two-tiered health system at a price that few can

afford. Our government representatives will have to look patients with

advanced disease in the eye knowing full well that they have not done

everything possible to help them when it was in their power to do so.

The CCAC has received calls from all over Canada from patients who are

desperate for this medication and who are not in a position to pay the cost of

this medication to treat their disease, notwithstanding the recommendations of

their oncologists that they may benefit from it.

We urge all Canadians who are interested in the well being of cancer

patients to write their provincial government representatives requesting that

they do everything necessary to ensure that Avastin is approved for

reimbursement in their province.

Colorectal cancer can be beaten and this medication is an important

component in this battle.


About colon cancer

Colorectal cancer - cancer of the colon or rectum - is the second leading

cause of cancer deaths overall in men and women. The disease surpasses both

breast and prostate cancer in mortality, and is second only to lung cancer in

numbers of cancer deaths.

Even though it is preventable, an estimated 19,600 Canadians were

diagnosed with CRC last year, and an estimated 8,400 died from the disease. An

almost equal number of men and women are diagnosed each year with CRC in


About CCAC

The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada is a non-profit organization

whose mission is to increase awareness and educate Canadians about colorectal

cancer, support patients and their families, and advocate for a national

screening policy and timely access to treatment and diagnostics. For more

information, please visit www.ccac-accc.ca or call the toll-free info line at


Visit the CCAC's website for additional information on the eAdvocacy

campaign calling for a National Colorectal Cancer Screening Policy in Canada

at www.advocacyonline.net/ccac/email.htm. /

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