Men and Women with Advanced Prostate or Breast Cancer and Bone Metastases in Quebec Now Have Access to New Medication

Quebec shows leadership in supporting men and women with advanced prostate and breast cancer

OTTAWA, Feb. 1, 2012 /CNW/ – Today the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network (CCSN) congratulates the Quebec government for providing access to an innovative new treatment, Xgeva® (denosumab), for the prevention of debilitating bone complications, known as skeletal-related events (SREs) in men and women with advanced prostate or breast cancer which has spread to the bone. Quebec is the first province in Canada to list Xgeva on public and private drug plans.

“The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network applauds the government of Quebec for making Xgeva available to men and women with advanced breast or prostate cancer and bone metastases,” said Jackie Manthorne, President and CEO, CCSN. “We call on each of the provinces to follow in the footsteps of Quebec to make this important treatment available to the patients who need it.”

CCSN provides a voice for people affected by cancer. It believes that all Canadians battling all types of cancers must have access to new treatments, both for the cancer itself and complications arising from the cancer, such as SREs. Further, its mandate is to ensure that Canadians have access to all of the approved medications they need for optimal care.

Xgeva is now listed as a médicament d’exception for the prevention of SREs for people with castrate-resistant prostate cancer, presenting at least one bone metastasis; and for the prevention of SREs for people with breast cancer, presenting at least one bone metastasis and who show intolerance to pamidronate.

About bone metastases

One of the most common places for breast and prostate cancer to spread is to the bone. In fact, 65 to of 75 per cent of men and women with advanced prostate or breast cancer will have the cancer spread to their bones.1

Once cancer has spread to the bone, a number of serious complications can occur, known as SREs. Approximately 50 to 70 per cent of all cancer patients with bone metastases will experience debilitating SREs, such as fractures or spinal cord compression, which necessitates procedures like major surgery and radiation.2,3,4,5 Such complications can profoundly impact a patient’s quality of life and cause disability and pain. In people with advanced cancer, SREs are associated with increased illness and death, and can place a significant economic burden on the healthcare system.6

While there are currently no treatments to prevent or delay the spread of cancer to the bones, treatments like Xgeva, for the complications of bone metastases, helps prevent or delay broken bones, spinal cord compression, or the need for surgery or radiation from occurring.

About Canadian Cancer Survivor Network (CCSN)

The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network is a national network of patients, families, survivors, friends, families, community partners and sponsors. Its mission is to work together by taking action to promote the very best standard of care, support, follow up and quality of life for patients and survivors. It aims to educate the public and policy makers about cancer and encourage research on ways to alleviate barriers to optimal cancer care in Canada. Follow CCSN via their blog at
1 Coleman, RE. Skeletal complications of malignancy. Cancer. 1997; 80 (suppl): 1588-1594.
2 Coleman, RE. Skeletal complications of malignancy. Cancer. 1997; 80 (suppl): 1588-1594.
3 Dictionary of Cancer Terms – spinal cord compression. National Cancer Institute website. Accessed Aug. 31, 2010.
4 Saad F. Impact of bone metastases on patient’s quality of life and importance of treatment. Eur Urol. 2006; 5(suppl): 547-550.
5 Janjan NA. Radiation for bone metastases. Cancer. 2000:80:1628-1645.
6 Schulman K and Kohles J. Economic burden of metastatic bone disease in the U.S. Cancer. 2007: 109 (11):2334-2342.

For further information:
or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Jackie Manthorne, President & CEO
Canadian Cancer Survivor Network
613-898-1871 /

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