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Newspaper article friday 13th is bad luck Canada N.S denied AVASTIN

wanda23's picture
Posts: 58
Joined: Jul 2007

Nova Scotia won't fund life-prolonging cancer treatment
Avastin ruled out, two cheaper therapies approved
By JOHN GILLIS Health Reporter | 12:33 PM

The province will not pay for Avastin, an expensive drug that can extend the lives of some people with advanced colorectal cancer.

A provincial committee set up to review cancer treatments delivered its recommendations not to fund Avastin but to fund two other cancer drugs to the deputy health minister on Monday. She accepted the recommendations Thursday.

The long-awaited decision hit Judee Young hard. The Lower Sackville mother’s colorectal cancer had already spread to her lungs when it was diagnosed in October.
“I’m just so disappointed,” she said Friday morning.

Ms. Young’s doctors have called her a perfect candidate to be treated with Avastin along with chemotherapy, but she doesn’t want to bankrupt her family by borrowing the roughly $35,000 it costs for a year of treatment.

It’s estimated it would cost the province about $3.6 million a year to fund Avastin for roughly 100 people who might benefit from it.

The drug, which is believed to work by interfering with the blood supply to tumours, can extend the lives of patients by a median of 4.7 months.

Beginning Aug. 1, the province will fund the use of Oxaliplatin in colorectal cancer patients who have had surgical treatment. That drug is already in use at other stages of the disease. It’s estimated this use of Oxaliplatin has the potential to cure 20 people each year at a cost of $2.6 million.

The province will also pay for a drug called Mab Campath, used to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia, at an estimated cost of $170,000 per year.


robinvan's picture
Posts: 1014
Joined: May 2007

Thanks for posting this article Wanda. Too bad for colon cancer folks in Nova Scotia. When they look at just the average "life-extension" it doesn't say it all.
Rob; in Vancouver

Monicaemilia's picture
Posts: 455
Joined: Nov 2006

Hi Wanda: I agree with Rob. I have also known Avastin to be used after surgery to ensure all the cancerous cells are dead. To only state that it extends life by a few months is totally misleading. I am currently in Buenos Aires, and the doctors here cannot believe that a first world country like Canada has not approved drugs such as Avastin and Erbitux, which have been used here for years in the war against cancer. As a fellow Canadian, it is truly disappointing. Monica

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