The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada (CCAC) applauds the decision of the New Brunswick's Minister of Health Mary Schryer to implement a province wide colorectal cancer screening program and to provide funding for Avastin (bevacizumab) for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.
The announcement was made at the CCAC's New Brunswick legislative information breakfast held in Fredericton where Minister Schryer stated that, "There is no reason why we should not be detecting diseases such as colon cancer before they get worse....We know colorectal cancer screening is a critical weapon in the fight against a disease that can be prevented. This is why we are committed to establishing a province wide screening program... By making strategic investments in prevention, early detection and treatment, we are taking a stand against cancer."
"The CCAC could not agree more and has been advocating for primary prevention, screening and equal and timely access to effective treatments throughout the country," said Barry D. Stein, president of the CCAC. " We are thrilled that the Minister and the Government of New Brunswick have elected to implement a colorectal cancer screening program to prevent the disease while at the same time providing the standard of care in treatment, necessary to prolong the lives of those already touched by it," he added.
The CCAC has been calling for all provinces to implement colorectal cancer screening programs since 2005. Since that time all provinces have become members of the National Colorectal Cancer Screening Network and only Newfoundland has yet to commit to bringing in a colorectal cancer screening program. "We sincerely hope that Newfoundland quickly decides to follow suit and commence screening for this most preventable disease," Stein added.
Dr. Sylvie Bourque, medical oncologist and site director of the NCIC at the Moncton Hospital and Dr. Jo-Anne Attard colorectal surgeon at the St John Regional Hospital presented on treatment options and colorectal cancer screening at the CCAC breakfast. Dr. Attard noted that colorectal cancer is 90 % preventable and curable if caught in its early stages making screening essential for the health of all Canadians between the ages of 50 - 74. Dr. Bourque outlined the various treatments for advanced colorectal cancer disease including Avastin, Vectibix (panatumumab) and Erbitux (cetuximab).
The CCAC is calling upon Manitoba and PEI to provide the standard of care to patients with advanced disease and approve funding for Avastin to ensure all patients have equal access to this important medication. The CCAC also advocates for approval of Vectibix and Erbitux in third line treatment for patients with advanced disease to ensure patients have every opportunity to prolong their lives.
COLORECTAL CANCER ASSOCIATION OF CANADA