Did you know that accessing treatments for stage IV metastatic breast cancer (mBC) is not universal across Canada? We live in a country that promotes universal health care to all but accessing cancer treatment varies by each province.
Innovative new treatments are frequently being developed for metastatic breast cancer. While mBC is incurable, it can be managed for many years with the right medications. These new treatments can help extend the lives of many Canadians living with mBC. On average, new treatments can take two years to be publicly funded by provinces. Some provinces can take even longer if they decide to fund them at all.
Meanwhile, many Canadians are:
- Using less effective treatments while they wait for funding
- Paying out of pocket to access the medicines they need
- Scraping together funding through a patchwork of private insurance, or Manufacturer Patient Assistance Programs, and/or fundraising
When and if these drugs do eventually become available and funded in a province, some patients are no longer eligible to receive the treatment because their cancer has continued to spread. Some provinces, like Ontario and the Atlantic region, will only cover take-home cancer medication (taken by mouth instead of through an I.V. at a hospital) if you are over a certain age, typically 65. Otherwise, you will have to apply for funding through your private insurance or a complicated provincial drug plan.
This complicated patchwork system of accessing treatment for metastatic breast cancer can add undue anxiety and fear. The CBCN is advocating for a well-designed national pharmacare program that will help Canadians living with stave IV breast cancer.
Hear from patients and doctors across Canada to see how this is impacting their lives and families. Sign our petition to share your support for stage IV breast cancer patients.