Kidney Cancer Canada applauds Ontario for granting coverage for RCC therapy TORISEL

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TORISEL is reimbursed for advanced renal cell carcinoma in the province with the greatest number of patients

Ontario has taken a major step forward in access to treatment for patients in the province with advanced kidney cancer by granting coverage for TORISELTM (temsirolimus), for advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) with poor prognostic features.

"We applaud Ontario for their commitment to kidney cancer patients, by granting access to therapies like TORISEL," said Deb Maskens, Chair, Kidney Cancer Canada and also a kidney cancer patient. "Our hope is other provinces will unite in this decision and soon all Canadians, no matter where they live, will have access to the treatments they need to fight their disease effectively."

In addition to Ontario, TORISEL is also reimbursed in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia.

Unlike most other cancers, kidney cancer doesn't respond to conventional treatments like chemotherapy or radiation, making access to targeted treatments that much more important. Thanks to compassionate access to TORISEL, kidney cancer patient John Buczkowski from St. Catharines, Ontario, has been given time he didn't expect when he first received his diagnosis.

"I've been on TORISEL for two years and four months now and it has given me the blessing of time, time to be with my family and even witness the birth of my first grandson," said John. "With Ontario's decision to reimburse TORISEL I hope more people will have the opportunities I've had to fight this disease and enjoy the good things in life."

Providing Options for Kidney Cancer Patients

The introduction of targeted treatments for kidney cancer in the past five years has changed the lives of people living with the disease. But, according to Dr. Anil Kapoor, medical oncologist at McMaster University, just like with other cancers, one treatment most likely won't be enough.

"Having another option is what patients need to fight this disease," says Dr. Kapoor. "We need more flexibility with treatment options, so when the initial treatment stops working, we as physicians can tailor patients' treatment to be as effective as possible."

TORISEL, Nexavar and Sutent, the most widely prescribed treatments for kidney cancer, are not equally accessible across the country and they are only available as first-line treatments. In addition, Afinitor, recently approved by Health Canada has not yet been granted access in any province.

TORISEL is indicated as a first-line therapy for people with metastatic (advanced) renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the most common form of kidney cancer. TORISEL is the only targeted therapy that has been shown to extend survival for patients with poor prognosis and non-clear cell kidney cancer.(1) It is estimated that 15 to 20 per cent of kidney cancer is non-clear cell RCC,(2) which means for the first time, Ontarians have funded access to a proven treatment for their disease. TORISEL has a unique mode of action compared to other available kidney cancer treatments and is shown to extend median overall survival for patients with metastatic RCC.



The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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