The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network is deeply concerned that men and women living in Alberta who have advanced prostate and breast cancer that has spread to their bones do not have public access to treatments that can reduce the risk of serious bone complications.
Men and women 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, men and women with advanced prostate and breast cancer need a bone-targeting treatment at the earliest confirmation of metastases. Currently, the government does not pay for these treatments for patients in Alberta. However, the Government of Alberta’s introduction of Changing Our Future: Alberta’s Cancer Plan To 2030 in February 2013 means that now is the time to have a serious discussion about the importance of ensuring cancer patients in Alberta receive the same standard of care available to patients in other provinces.
Alberta is one of only two provinces, along with PEI, that does not currently provide public access to bone-targeting treatment. We believe that all patients with advanced prostate and breast cancer in Alberta deserve the same access to treatment and standard of care as patients in other provinces. The launch of the new PharmaCare program in January 2014 makes the consideration and correction of coverage issues in Alberta a timely issue right now. Alberta Healthcare Insurance Plan must provide access to bone-targeted therapies to prevent complications that may be debilitating.
If you would like to assist us in our efforts to help men and women with advanced prostate and breast 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.