Immunotherapy Reception on Parliament Hill – It’s In You To Fight Cancer!

The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network (CCSN) thanks everyone who attended our breakfast event, It’s In You to Fight Cancer, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on June 12, 2018. We were lucky to have Rob Oliphant, Member of Parliament (MP) for Don Valley West, host the event in the beautiful Parliamentary Dining room of Center Block.

Over 100 people came to the event, including many MPs and Senators. We were joined by representatives from Health Canada, BioCanRx, Innovative Medicines Canada (IMC), the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and others.  As well, patient, caregiver and survivor patient advocates, health professionals and industry representatives all attended, including representatives of the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada , Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders (CORD),   Health Charities Coalition Canada (HCCC), Life Saving Therapies Network, Lung Cancer Canada, Myeloma Canada, Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, Prostate Cancer Canada and Individual patient advocates.

CCSN’s President and CEO, Jackie Manthorne, kicked off the breakfast, noting that there are over a million cancer survivors in Canada – a sizeable Canadian city – and that to help more people survive we need to prepare our health systems so we can access new treatments and increase survivorship. She also stressed the importance of ensuring prompt and equitable access to new cancer treatments across Canada, as part of discussions on national pharmacare.

Dr. Paul Wheatly-Price, medical oncologist and President of Lung Cancer Canada, shared three stories from the clinic, and used them to illustrate the need for specific action from the federal government on access to new cancer therapies, a national lung cancer screening program and improved cancer care for Indigenous Canadians.

We then heard inspiring survivorship stories from MP Bill Casey, a two-time cancer survivor who chairs the House of Commons Health Committee, and MP Stephanie Kusie, the Deputy Conservative Health Critic, who shared her dad’s struggle in battling prostate cancer. MP Don Davies, NDP Health Critic, talked about the need for more support for cancer patients and for a national pharmacare program that would encourage timely access to innovative treatments for all Canadians.

We were also pleased to partner on the program with BioCanRx, a national centre of excellence on immunotherapy treatments. Special thanks to BioCanRx’s Scientific Affairs Director Dr. Kelley Parato, who explained the science behind immunotherapies in a way that everyone could understand. This is no easy feat!

Many guests attended the event, including parliamentarians, government officials, cancer survivors, patients, patient advocates, researchers, health professionals and industry partners.

A special thanks goes to Merck Canada for supporting this successful event!Prior to and after the breakfast event, CCSN representatives, along with key cancer patient advocates, took part in bilateral meetings with several MPs, Senators and government officials.

Click here to view the photo gallery from this event.