Currently, patients in Ontario with advanced colorectal cancer are being denied access to treatment unless they are covered by private insurance or pay for it themselves.
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Sherri Dymterko: Colorectal cancer is a second-leading cause of cancer death in Canada. Last year alone more than 20,000 Canadians were diagnosed with the disease. The Ontario Cancer Plan 2008-2011, and a recent launch of a province-wide colorectal cancer screening program, demonstrate a strong commitment to preventing cancer; however real concerns remain regarding access to treatments for the disease. Currently, patients diagnosed with advanced colorectal cancer are being denied access to the standard of care, unless they are covered by private insurance or pay for it themselves. Barry Stein is president of the CCAC. Barry Stein: Well, The Colorectal Cancer Association promote screening program throughout the country. This is an important first step in Ontario, and another provinces across the country. But that's only half of the program, the other half of the program is a repromote timely access through effective treatments. Sherri Dymterko: The CCAC has launched a public awareness campaign directed at members of provincial governments across the county, and encourages all Canadians to get involved in joined the fight for equal access to treatment by right into their provincial MPPs and MLAs at colorectal-cancer.ca. Alain Gourd: It's quite devastating to be diagnosed with the stage IV colorectal cancer. It's kind of a double impact. The impact of knowing that you have a very severe even this, and then the impact of fighting to get the proper care. Sherri Dymterko: Despite being held as a standard of care for patients with advanced colorectal cancer, when combined with chemotherapy a vaccine is not publicly funded in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Quebec, and Newfoundland, leaving the majority of Canadians without access. Dr. Jean Maroun is an Oncologist at the Ottawa Regional Cancer Center. Dr. Jean Maroun: Our main role as physicians and trying to treat cancer patient is to provide the patient with the most effective treatment. It can be very disturbing when we know there is a treatment that is available, that is considered standard of care across the world, and that we are unable to provide it to our patient because it is not funded. Our vaccine is one of the new biologic agents that interferes with the blood supply to a tumor and therefore, it interfere with the tumor growth. In combining it with chemotherapy in patients with colorectal cancer, the tumor does shrink and it does improve the survivor of these patients. And I think it's very unfair, that on top of that, you have to fight just to get the appropriate standard of care. Sherri Dymterko: Colorectal cancer effects both men and women with one in 14 men and one in 16 women expected to develop the disease during their lifetime. It detected early 90 per cent of colorectal cancer cases are preventable or curable. Sherri Dymterko reporting.