November 12, 2012 – The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network is deeply concerned that men, in British Columbia, with advanced prostate cancer that has spread to their bones are not receiving the same evidence-based care as patients in other provinces. Patients in British Columbia are being denied access to bone targeted treatment 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, such patients in BC with must wait until they are considered palliative, or have six months to live, before BC Pharmacare will pay for treatment to prevent complications. Even at this stage, physicians are limited in their choice of treatment as the government will only pay for older agents and not the newer approved treatment option.
The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network believes that patients with advanced prostate cancer in British Columbia deserve the same access to treatment and standard of care as patients in other provinces. BC Pharmacare must allow physicians the freedom to choose the most appropriate treatment at the earliest sign of metastases, when the agent can be most helpful, to prevent debilitating complications in men with advanced prostate cancer.
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.