Our morning reception in the legislative dining room at Queen’s Park on November 7, 2019 was attended by nearly 100 patients, caregivers, survivors, cancer patient groups, MPPs, including three ministers and several staffers, and others. The theme of the reception was the new and exciting tumour agnostic treatments, but more on that later. First I want to tell you how this reception became an extraordinary event due to two very special people, one of whom was a guest, the other a Member of the Provincial Parliament (MPP).
CCSN’s guest speaker was John Peachey, a metastatic prostate cancer survivor, accompanied by his wife and caregiver Kimm and his two children, Michael and Sarah, all from Burlington. In 2013, John was diagnosed with Stage 4 Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer that had metastasized to his brain, bones and liver. He was very ill and did not expect to live for long. However, treatments, including several different chemotherapy drugs plus bone strengthening medication, kept him alive. About six months ago, he was given a tumour agnostic treatment that has worked well for him. John ended his address by stating, “I have noticed a dramatic lifestyle change. I am regaining my strength, I feel like I have my life back, and I am able to enjoy my family and friends.” To read John’s entire speech, please click here.
The second special speaker was Lorne Coe, MPP for Whitby and Chief Government Whip. MPP Coe had sponsored our reception, and he spoke from the heart when he announced at the reception that he was a cancer survivor, and that he had not disclosed this to anyone at Queen’s Park before. MPP Coe then made a statement in the House that afternoon where he again announced that he was a cancer survivor. We were inspired and very moved that MPP Coe felt empowered to be open about having had cancer. To listen to MPP Coe’s statement in the House, please play the video below.
CCSN President and CEO Jackie Manthorne spoke about the shift underway in cancer treatment. Instead of caring for patients with traditional drug treatments by cancer type, oncologists are now looking to first identify and target genetic biomarkers that are shared across tumour types. Known as “tumour agnostic” treatments, the same drug can treat patients with cancer types that share a specific genetic biomarker, regardless of where the cancer begins in the body. The first tumour agnostic treatment is now available in Canada and further treatments are expected to be approved in the coming years.
Manthorne then introduced the following speakers, who welcomed CCSN and spoke about the importance of patients receiving the treatments they need:
- MPP Robin Martin, Eglington-Lawrence, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health.
- MPP France Gélinas, Nickel Belt, Health Critic.
- MPP John Fraser, Ottawa South, Interim Liberal Party Leader.
- MPP Mike Schreiner, Guelph, Leader of the Green Party.
Manthorne thanked everyone for attending, and also introduced the many patients, caregivers and survivors and the cancer organizations and research agencies present, including: After Breast Cancer; the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada; the Canadian MPN Network; CanCertainty; Clinical Trials Ontario; Dense Breasts Canada; Fighting Blindness Canada; the Kidney Foundation of Canada; the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada; Lung Cancer Canada; the Lymphedema Association of Ontario; the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research; Ontario Genomics; the Ontario Lung Association; Princess Margaret Hospital; Prostate Cancer Canada; the Save Your Skin Foundation; the University Health Network; Young Adult Cancer Canada.