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November 19th, 2020 is World Pancreatic Cancer Day - "It's About Time" Patients had Treatment Options

·3 min read

Craig's Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society is joining more than 95 organizations from 35 countries to advocate for greater understanding of pancreatic cancer on Thursday, Nov. 19.

HALIFAX, NS, Nov. 19, 2020 /CNW/ - Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate among all major cancers, with a mere 8% survival rate. There has been no change in mortality rates since 1998. 6,000 Canadians are projected to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, with a projected 5300 deaths in 2020.

Currently in Canada, patients diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer have limited treatment options due to stalled negotiations over Onivyde (Irinotecan Liposome) a life-sustaining drug.

Although positively recommended by Health Canada, the pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review (pCODR) and the Quebec Institut national d'excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS) in 2017, negotiations with the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA) ended in June 2019 without resolution or reason.

"It's About Time," is the 2020 World Pancreatic Cancer Day (WPCD) campaign. This theme not only addresses the importance of early detection and awareness of symptoms and risks, but it creates important discussions regarding the inequalities in treatment options available to patients.

Dr. Ravi Ramjeesingh, a medical oncologist in Halifax, Nova Scotia is concerned about the lack of availability of Onivyde in Canada. "Liposomal irinotecan, or Onivyde, is the only drug that has clinical trial data showing survival benefit in the second line treatment for patients with pancreatic cancer. Despite its benefits, it is not available in Canada, which makes no logical sense. With so few treatment choices for this deadly disease, we should be striving to have as much available for patients as possible."

Lori Van Opstal from Tillsonburg, Ontario expresses concern, "As a caregiver and patient advocate, it is so important that patients in Canada are able to access proven drugs that are helping pancreatic cancer patients live longer and better lives. Every day that goes by, without access to Onivyde, Canadian patients will lose precious time.

"On World Pancreatic Cancer Day, we unite as a global movement to raise awareness and visibility about one of the world's deadliest cancers," said Stefanie Condon-Oldreive. "We are calling on all Canadian governments and pCPA to go back to the negotiating table now and make Onivyde available to those who need it. "'It is About Time' that patients have access to the best treatment options. Patients deserve time with their loved ones."

About Craig's Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society

Craig's Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society is a national charity dedicated to both increasing survival and improving the quality of life for every Canadian diagnosed with pancreatic cancer through awareness raising, education, support and research.

About World Pancreatic Cancer Day
World Pancreatic Cancer Day (WPCD), a day dedicated to raising global awareness of pancreatic cancer, occurs on the third Thursday of November during Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. The goal of WPCD 2020 is to create urgency and an appreciation of TIME.

SOURCE Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society

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