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CanCertainty Coalition Releases Video Calling for Fair and Equal Access to Cancer Treatments Taken Orally

Patients in Ontario and Atlantic Canada face significant challenges accessing oral medications due to their age, cancer type and where they live

TORONTO, March 31, 2014 /CNW/ - The CanCertainty Coalition - an unprecedented unification of more than 30 Canadian patient groups, physicians, and health charities today released a powerful video highlighting the significant challenges cancer patients in Ontario and Atlantic Canada face in accessing oral medications. The video's message is clear: with almost one in two Canadians expected to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime1, all Canadians, no matter their age, cancer type or where they live, deserve to have CanCertainty - certainty that if cancer strikes them or a loved one they will have fair and equal access to the treatment they need, whether intravenous (IV) or oral.

Currently, Canada's four Western provinces provide equal access to provincially-approved cancer therapies, whether IV or oral. However, in Ontario and all four Atlantic provinces, when a cancer patient needs a provincially-approved oral therapy, they face significant paperwork and hurdles based on their age, private insurance status, and household income. Outdated reimbursement systems in these provinces can result in significant out-of-pocket costs and delays in treatment. In contrast, the same patient would access an IV treatment at no cost and no wait-time regardless of income or insurance coverage.2

"A cancer diagnosis is not fair, but accessing treatment should be," says Deb Maskens, kidney cancer patient and co-founder, Kidney Cancer Canada. "The lack of complete public funding for cancer treatments taken orally in Ontario and Atlantic Canada is unfair and is creating significant financial hardship for thousands of patients each year. Today we are renewing our call for the governments of Ontario, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador, to join the rest of the country in providing fair and equal access to all cancer treatments, no matter how they're formulated."

According to a report developed by the Cameron Institute, a not-for-profit, public policy think tank, it is estimated an investment of $28 - $93 million will ensure all patients in Ontario have access to oral medications.3 The investment is also estimated to lead to at least a 17 per cent reduction in overall chemotherapy unit costs.4  The same holds true, proportionally, for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

For more information about the CanCertainty campaign and to access the video, please visit: CanCertaintyForAll.ca and YouTube.

About the CanCertainty Coalition
The CanCertainty Coalition is a united voice of more than 30 Canadian patient groups, cancer health charities, and caregiver organizations, joining together to significantly improve the affordability and accessibility of cancer treatment in Ontario and Atlantic Canada:

Aplastic Anemia and Myelodysplasia Association of Canada              GIST Sarcoma Life Raft Group Canada
Best Medicines Coalition   Hope and Cope
Bladder Cancer Canada   Kidney Cancer Canada
Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada   Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada
Breast Cancer Action Nova Scotia   Lung Cancer Canada
Canadian Breast Cancer Network   Lymphoma Canada
Canadian Cancer Action Network   Melanoma Network of Canada
Canadian Liver Foundation   Myeloma Canada
Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation   Ovarian Cancer Canada
Canadian Skin Patient Alliance   Pancreatic Cancer Canada
Cancer Advocacy Coalition of Canada   Prostate Cancer Canada
Cancer Fight Club   Rethink Breast Cancer
Carcinoid  Neuroendocrine Tumour Society of Canada   Save your Skin
Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia Society of Canada   Testicular Cancer Canada
Colon Cancer Canada   The Canadian CML Network
Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada   Thyroid Cancer Canada
Gastrointestinal Society   Young Adult Cancer Canada

The campaign, initiated by Kidney Cancer Canada, is also supported by the Physician Alliance for Cancer Care and Treatment (PACCT).

About Kidney Cancer Canada
Kidney Cancer Canada is the first Canadian-based, patient-led registered charity established to improve the quality of life for patients and their families living with kidney cancer. Kidney Cancer Canada advocates for access to new treatments, provides support and information to patients, and works to increase awareness of kidney cancer as a significant health issue. This March during National Kidney Month, Kidney Cancer Canada is leading the CanCertainty Coalition to raise awareness for the need for fair and equal access to cancer medications taken orally.

For more information, please visit: www.kidneycancercanada.ca.

1 Cancer Statistics at a Glance. Retrieved from http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-101/cancer-statistics-at-a-glance/?region=on (Last accessed February 14, 2014)
2 D. Menon, T. Stafinski, G. Stuart, Access to Drugs for Cancer: Does Where You Live Matter?" Canadian Journal of Public Health, Vol. 96, No. 6, 454-458.
3 Taylor, W. D. (2014). The Institutionalized Discrimination of Cancer Patients - Not What Tommy Douglas Intended: A Business Case for Universal Coverage of Oral Cancer Medicines in Ontario and Atlantic Canada.
4 F. T. Camacho, J. Wu, W. Wei, G. Kimmick, R. T. Anderson, R. Balkrishnan, Cost impact of oral capecitabine compared to intravenous taxane-based chemotherapy in first-line metastatic breast cancer, Journal of Medical Economics, Vol. 12, No. 3 , 238-245

SOURCE Environics Communications, Inc.

Video with caption: "The CanCertainty Coalition releases video calling for fair and equal access to cancer treatments taken orally.". Video available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfBg2J2sM1M

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