The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network has learned that BC Pharmacare has listed the newest bone-targeting agent on its formulary for men with advanced prostate cancer that has spread to their bones, who are considered palliative. While this is good news for these patients and a positive step forward, other men with prostate cancer that has spread to their bones, who are not palliative, are still being denied access to bone-targeted treatments at the appropriate time in therapy.
Men whose cancer has spread, or metastasised, to their bones are at risk of developing serious, debilitating complications such as fractures, spinal cord compression or the need for surgery or radiation. These complications can cause mobility issues, disability, hospitalization and even death.
To reduce the risk of developing bone complications, patients with advanced prostate cancer need to receive a bone-modifying agent at the earliest confirmation of metastases. However, patients in BC must wait until they are considered palliative, or have six months to live, before BC Pharmacare will pay for treatment to prevent complications.
We believe that BC patients deserve the same level of evidence-based care that patients in other provinces receive.
BC Pharmacare must allow patients access to the most appropriate bone-targeting treatment at the earliest confirmation that the cancer has spread to the bones, when the agent can be the most helpful, to prevent debilitating complications.
If you would like to assist us in our efforts to help men with advanced prostate cancer receive the same evidence-based care as patients in other provinces, please contact me at Jmanthorne@survivornet.ca.
Together we can make a difference.