The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network is deeply concerned that women living in Ontario who have breast cancer that has spread to their bones do not have public access to all bone-targeted treatments that can reduce the risk of serious bone complications. Older treatments, which may not be suitable for all patients, are currently the only options available. The newer class of treatments, RANK-Ligand inhibitors, is not available on the provincial drug formulary in Ontario for women with breast cancer.
All women with advanced breast cancer deserve access to all approved medicines that can help protect their bones, regardless of where they live.
When cancer spreads, or metastasises, to the bones, patients 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. Prostate and breast cancer are the most likely cancers to metastasize to the bones.
To reduce the risk of developing bone complications, patients need a bone-targeting treatment at the earliest confirmation of metastases. In Ontario, men with advanced prostate cancer have access to the newest bone-targeting treatments. Yet, women with breast cancer do not. Because of this, many women may be left untreated and are at risk of developing complications that can disrupt their life and cause disability, pain, hospitalization, and even death.
We believe that all women with advanced breast cancer deserve the same access to treatment and standard of care as other patients, including men with prostate cancer and patients in other provinces. Access to bone-targeted therapies must be made available through the Ontario Public Drug Programs.
If you would like to assist us in our efforts to help women in Ontario with advanced breast cancer receive the same evidence-based care as others, please contact me at Jmanthorne@survivornet.ca.
Together we can make a difference.