Thursday, 27 February 2014

Is mammography in danger?

Not all that long ago in Canada, the triad of early detection of breast cancer was breast self-examination (BSE), clinical breast exam, and mammography.  These three were the most widely used tools in the early detection of breast cancer.

However, in the late 1990 and early 2000s, breast self-examination came under attack, and even such organizations as the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation modified their recommendations from promoting BSE to promoting breast awareness “because there is insufficient or inconclusive scientific evidence of an effective BSE technique, or an effective way for health care providers to teach it to women, or that BSE reduces breast cancer mortality.” [1]

Although clinical breast exams (CBE) should be part of a regular check-up, many health care practitioners have either not been taught the correct way to perform CBE or do not have the time to include one in a patient’s annual check-up. In addition, the Ontario Breast Screening Program, which used to offer a clinical breast exam as well as a mammogram for women aged 59-70, no longer performs CBEs.

And increasingly, mammography has been under attack.

The latest in a fairly long line of studies that criticizes screening mammography is the Canadian National Breast Cancer Screening Study, “Too Much Mammography,” published on February 11, 2014 in The British Medical Journal (http://www.bmj.com/content/348/bmj.g1403). This Canadian study followed approximately 90,000 women who were assigned to either receive regular mammograms or have no mammograms between the years 1980 and 1985. Researchers followed the participants for about another 25 years.

“During the screening period, approximately 660 invasive breast cancers were diagnosed in women who received mammograms, and about 520 cases were diagnosed in those who did not receive the screening. Among the women diagnosed through mammograms, 180 died of breast cancer, and 171 died from the group who were diagnosed without mammography.

“According to the findings, mammograms contributed to the over-diagnosis of breast cancer — meaning the screening detected a cancer that was not an actual threat to the woman’s health, but she still underwent chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation.”[2]

In her statement on the Canadian National Breast Screening Study, National Breast Cancer Coalition president Fran Visco says that the study “confirms NBCC’s long-held position that an enormous amount of resources and attention have been spent on mammography, despite the lack of strong evidence that screening significantly reduces mortality from breast cancer. The Canadian study found that 22% of women whose cancers were detected by mammograms were overdiagnosed and subjected to unnecessary treatment.”[3]

What’s a woman (or man) to do now?

Over 24,000 Canadians were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 – 23,800 women and 200 men[4] – so doing nothing is not an option, and early diagnosis is still important.

Already there are suggestions that we should take another look at breast self-exams and clinical breast exams.[5] Apparently one unexpected but positive outcome of the Canadian National Breast Cancer Screening Study was that “women who did not receive regular mammograms were instead monitored with physical breast exams that proved effective. All of the participants were taught to examine their own breasts once a month, and specially trained nurses examined women who were in their 50s. This low-tech approach, the researchers found, appeared to be as good as or better than regular mammograms at locating the serious cancers that needed treatment.”[6] Researchers went on to say that they were reluctant to address this, since it had not been the purpose of the study.

Confusing? Yes. Important? Undoubtedly. Implications for screening for other cancers? Evidently so:  several recent studies have reported on and described overdiagnosis and overtreatment of not only breast but also prostate and thyroid cancers, and to a lesser degree renal and lung cancer.[7] 
But when it comes right down to it, existing breast cancer screening methods are still breast self-examination, clinical breast examination and mammography.

And in fact, in a February 14, 2014 media release, Dr. Jacques Lévesque, President of the Canadian Association of Radiologists (CAR), the national association representing radiologists in Canada, stated that, “Women should continue to seek breast cancer screening using mammography, a form of x‐ray of the breast.” The CAR went on to say that they are very concerned that women will feel there is no need to pursue breast cancer screening, when in fact, several other breast cancer screening reports indicate the opposite.   

The CAR joined the American College of Radiology and the Society of Breast Imaging, who also have concerns that the report is “incredibly misleading analysis based on the deeply flawed and widely discredited Canadian National Breast Screening Study (CNBSS). The results of this BMJ study, and others resulting from the CNBSS trial, should not be used to create breast cancer screening policy as this would place a great many women at increased risk of dying unnecessarily from breast cancer.”[8]

The recently released CAR Practice Guidelines and Technical Standards for Breast Imaging and Intervention, as well as referral guidelines for medical imaging for physicians, encourage women to speak with their physician about the right time to begin mammography exams. 

The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network will continue to address issues in cancer screening as they arise. We encourage patients, survivors and caregivers to share their thoughts and opinions about cancer screening by writing to jmanthorne@ccsn.ca .



[1] Look and feel, https://www.cbcf.org/central/AboutBreastHealth/Breast-Awareness/be-breast-aware/Pages/Look-and-Feel.aspx
[2] Doctors critical of mammography study, NapaValleyRegister.com, February 24, 2014
[3] National Breast Cancer Coalition Statement on The Canadian National Breast Screening Study, http://www.breastcancerdeadline2020.org/about-nbcc/newsroom/2014PressReleases/CanadianScreeningStudyStatement.html
[4] Canadian Cancer Statistics 2013, http://www.cancer.ca/~/media/cancer.ca/CW/cancer%20information/cancer%20101/Canadian%20cancer%20statistics/canadian-cancer-statistics-2013-EN.pdf
[5] A fresh case for breast exams by Roni Caryn Rabin,  The New York Times, http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/17/a-fresh-case-for-breast-self-exams/?smid=tw-share
[6] Ibid
[7] PubMed, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22472510
[8] http://www.acr.org/NewsPublications/News/NewsArticles/2014/ACR/BMJArticleonBreastCancerScreening
EffectivenessIncrediblyFlawedandMisleading  

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Finding Flexible Work Difficult for Cancer Patients and Caregivers

New data released on financial, decision-making and emotional burden of cancer

LAVAL, Quebec, January 14, 2014 – A 2013 Léger national survey of cancer patients and their caregivers, commissioned by Sanofi Canada, sheds new light on the striking financial, decision-making and emotional burden the disease puts on cancer patients and their caregivers.  The survey finds that 18% of patients experience difficulty in finding flexible work options while battling cancer, while 49% of all caregivers also struggle to integrate caring for loved ones into their work schedules.

Surveyed caregivers said that, in addition to being a source of financial stress, cancer caregiving took a toll on their lifestyle and emotional outlook.  Many noted that it forced them to choose between work and care; including taking time off from work or preventing them from moving for work.

“With a growing elderly population reliant on a younger workforce, we need to keep measuring our progress in supporting people with cancer and developing new solutions.  It is critical for all members of the healthcare continuum, to find new ways – big and small, simple or complex – to help patients better manage their lives as well as to ease the caregiver burden,” says Jon Fairest, President and CEO of Sanofi Canada.  “Cancer management is not only costly to our health system; it also significantly impairs individuals who make up a highly productive segment of our workforce and economy.”

The Canadian Cancer Society expects that 2 in 5 Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetimes. Males have a 46% lifetime probability (or a 1 in 2.2 chance) of developing cancer. Females have a 41% lifetime probability (or a 1 in 2.4 chance) of developing cancer[1].

Access to medicine

The burden on people being treated for cancer is already high because of health concerns, but for 15% of patients and 29% of caregivers, it is further complicated by the difficulty in accessing the most current or effective treatment options, in addition to the concerns over reimbursement of drug costs, long and intense treatments, and the loss of salary.

“When you look at the survey and see that 6% of patients reported having difficulty accessing medicine and 19% of caregivers reporting the same, you come to the conclusion that these statistics are too high for a country like Canada. Treatments that clearly improve quality of life and cancer outcomes should be available for all Canadians,” says Jon Fairest.  “When you translate this information into the number of Canadians who are likely to develop cancer in their lifetime, we are talking thousands of people who have difficulty accessing medicine.”

Of the patients surveyed, 28% were currently living with cancer and 72% had had it in the past, which could account for different perceptions in the difficulty in accessing treatment. Survey responses lead to the conclusion that caregivers may have shielded their dependents from the difficulty in managing access. 

“Patients living with cancer and dependent on the public system, wherever they live, need to have equal access in a timely manner to available treatments. This underscores the importance for provincial governments to list those treatment options that have been approved by Canadian health authorities,” added Mr. Fairest. “At Sanofi Canada, we stand behind the principle of access to the right medicine for the right patient at the right time. Access to cancer treatment should be universal and we should be making every effort for full access across the country.”


Carrying the load: the cancer burden
Survey results depict the caregiver to cancer patients as predominately female. Sixty-three percent of women compared to 37% of men carry the load of disease management and treatment. The majority of caregivers to oncology patients are under 54 years old (69%). Patients, meanwhile, are predominantly 55 and over (75%). 

While emphasizing how important their role is, and how grateful for life and health they had become after caring for their loved one with cancer, caregivers described the negative impact cancer had on their mental state, describing their function as “emotionally draining,” “depressing,” and “stressful.”

Caregivers reported receiving no significant outside help in their caregiving, other than that provided by family and friends to help in the management of their loved one’s cancer treatment.

“Caring for cancer patients is complex,” says Jackie Manthorne, President & CEO of the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network. “People living with cancer require a wealth of financial and support services to access needed medicines and services that are in close proximity to their homes as well as psychological, nutrition and fitness services to support them in the healing process.”   

To ease the burden of managing cancer and its treatment, three quarters of caregivers are in favour of out-of-hospital care for cancer patients, and 87% say their dependent would be likely to take advantage of the option of receiving treatment at home.  Patients too are generally in favour of out-of-hospital care, and 80% say they would be likely to use a service that allows them to have treatment at home.

“At Sanofi, we understand that caregivers play a critical role in optimal cancer patient management and also figure prominently in the economic issues around cancer care,” said Victoria Vertesi, Vice-President Hospital-based Patient-centered Care, Sanofi Canada. “That’s why our patient-centric approach includes caring for caregivers. We are ready in Canada for innovative solutions that help patients and enable their caregivers to go back to healthy, productive living.”

About the survey

The survey was completed online in May, 2013 using Leger’s online panel, LegerWeb.

The total sample size was 502 Canadians (301 patients, 201 caregivers) who have cancer, have had cancer in the past, are currently caregivers to someone with cancer, or have been a caregiver in the past.

A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 4.4%, 19 times out of 20.

About Sanofi

Sanofi, an integrated global healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients’ needs. Sanofi has core strengths in the field of healthcare with seven growth platforms: diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, consumer healthcare, emerging markets, animal health and the new Genzyme. Sanofi is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).

Sanofi companies in Canada include Sanofi Canada (pharmaceuticals), Sanofi Pasteur (vaccines), Sanofi Consumer Health (health and beauty), Genzyme (rare diseases) and Merial (animal health). Together they employ more than 1,700 people across the country. In 2012 Sanofi companies invested $122 million in R&D in Canada, creating jobs, business and opportunity throughout the country.

For further information or to arrange an interview with a cancer patient, caretaker of a cancer patient, representative of the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network, and a spokesperson for Sanofi Canada, please contact:

Catherine R. Cunningham                         Kristin Gable
Sanofi Canada                                              NATIONAL Public Relations
Tel: 514-956-6120                                       Tel: 514-843-2378
Cell: 514-713-1634                                     Cell: 514-209-0984
Catherine.cunningham@sanofi.com       KGable@national.ca


[1] Canadian Cancer Statistics 2013, Produced by Canadian Cancer Society, Statistics Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada, Provincial/Territorial Cancer Registries cancer.ca/statistics May 2013

Les patients atteints du cancer et les aidants ont de la difficulté à trouver un travail flexible

Nouvelles données publiées sur le fardeau financier, émotif et décisionnel du cancer

LAVAL, Québec, le 14 janvier 2014 – Un sondage national de Léger réalisé en 2013 auprès de patients atteints du cancer et de leurs aidants, demandé par Sanofi Canada, montre sous un nouveau jour le fardeau financier, émotif et décisionnel important que la maladie impose aux patients atteints du cancer et à leurs aidants. Selon le sondage, 18 % des patients ont de la difficulté à trouver des options de travail flexibles pendant qu’ils luttent contre le cancer, tandis que 49 % de tous les aidants éprouvent aussi de la difficulté à intégrer les soins à prodiguer à la personne chère à leur horaire de travail.

D’après les aidants interrogés, en plus d’être une source de stress financier, les soins aux personnes atteintes d’un cancer ont des répercussions sur leur style de vie ainsi que leur santé psychologique. Selon plusieurs, la maladie les force à choisir entre le travail et les soins, y compris le fait de s’absenter du travail ou de les empêcher de déménager pour le travail.

« Tandis que la population vieillissante en croissance se fie à une main-d’œuvre plus jeune, il faut continuer de mesurer les progrès réalisés pour appuyer les personnes atteintes du cancer, et créer de nouvelles solutions. Il est essentiel pour tous les membres du domaine des soins de santé de trouver de nouvelles façons, petites ou grandes, simples ou complexes, afin d’aider les patients à mieux gérer leur vie, ainsi que de réduire le fardeau imposé aux aidants, constate Jon Fairest, président-directeur général de Sanofi Canada. La gestion du cancer ne s’avère pas seulement coûteuse pour notre système de santé; elle a aussi d’importantes répercussions négatives sur les gens qui font partie d’un segment très productif de notre main-d’œuvre et de notre économie. »

Selon la Société canadienne du cancer, deux Canadiens sur cinq seront atteints d’un cancer durant leur vie. Le risque d’être atteint du cancer chez les hommes atteint 46 % (ou 1 chance sur 2,2). Chez les femmes, la probabilité atteint 41 % (ou 1 chance sur 2,4)[1].

Accès aux soins de santé

Le fardeau des personnes traitées pour un cancer est déjà élevé en raison des préoccupations sur le plan de la santé. Cependant, pour 15 % des patients et 29 % des aidants, la situation est compliquée davantage par la difficulté d’accéder aux traitements les plus récents ou efficaces, en plus des préoccupations touchant le remboursement du coût des médicaments, les traitements longs et intensifs et la perte de salaire.

« Lorsque vous regardez le sondage et constatez que 6 % des patients déclarent éprouver de la difficulté à accéder aux soins de santé, et que 19 % des aidants déclarent la même chose, vous en venez à la conclusion que ces statistiques sont trop élevées pour un pays comme le Canada. Tous les Canadiens devraient avoir accès à des traitements qui augmentent clairement la qualité de vie et améliorent l’issue du cancer, ajoute Jon Fairest. Lorsque vous obtenez, grâce à ces données, le nombre de Canadiens qui pourraient être atteints d’un cancer pendant leur vie, vous parlez de milliers de personnes qui ont de la difficulté à accéder aux soins. »

Des patients sondés, 28 % vivaient avec un cancer, et 72 % en avaient eu un dans le passé. Cela explique pourquoi il y a différentes perceptions quant à la difficulté d’accéder aux traitements. En raison des réponses au sondage, il est possible de conclure que les aidants peuvent avoir caché aux personnes à charge la difficulté qu’ils éprouvent à gérer l’accès.

« Les patients atteints du cancer et qui dépendent du système public, sans égard à l’endroit où ils vivent, doivent avoir un accès égal et rapide aux traitements existants. Cela souligne l’importance pour les gouvernements provinciaux d’ajouter à la liste les options de traitement approuvées par les autorités canadiennes dans le domaine de la santé, ajoute M. Fairest. Sanofi Canada soutient le principe de l’accès au bon traitement pour le bon patient, au bon moment. L’accès aux traitements de lutte contre le cancer devrait être universel. Nous devrions déployer tous les efforts possibles pour assurer un accès complet à l’échelle du pays. »

Traîner le fardeau qu’est le cancer

Selon le sondage, la majorité des aidants des personnes cancéreuses sont des femmes. Soixante-trois pour cent des femmes s’occupent de la gestion de la maladie et des traitements, par rapport à 37 % des hommes. La majorité des aidants des patients en oncologie sont âgés de moins de 54 ans (69 %). Pour leur part, la majorité des patients sont âgés de 55 ans et plus (75 %).

Tout en mettant l’accent sur l’importance de leur rôle, et la reconnaissance qu’ils ont à l’égard de la vie et de la santé après avoir pris soin d’une personne chère atteinte du cancer, les aidants ont décrit les répercussions négatives que le cancer a eues sur leur santé mentale, mentionnant que le processus a été « terrible sur le plan émotif, déprimant et stressant ».

Selon les aidants, ils n’ont reçu aucune aide de l’extérieur pour offrir leurs soins, autre que l’aide fournie par la famille et les amis, afin d’aider à gérer le traitement pour le cancer de la personne chère.

« Il est difficile de s’occuper de patients cancéreux, a déclaré Jackie Manthrone, présidente et chef de la direction du Réseau canadien des survivants du cancer. Les gens atteints du cancer ont besoin d’une vaste gamme de services financiers et de soutien pour leur permettre d’avoir accès aux médicaments dont ils ont besoin, aux services offerts à proximité de leur résidence ainsi qu’aux services psychologiques, de nutrition et de conditionnement physique qui les appuient pendant le processus de guérison. »

Pour réduire le fardeau associé à la gestion du cancer et à son traitement, 75 % des aidants sont en faveur des soins externes pour les patients cancéreux, et 87 % disent que leur personne à charge serait probablement prête à recevoir des traitements à la maison. Dans l’ensemble, les patients sont aussi en faveur de soins externes. Selon 80 % de ceux-ci, ils utiliseraient un service leur permettant de recevoir des traitements à la maison.

« Sanofi comprend que les aidants jouent un rôle essentiel pour la gestion optimale des patients atteints du cancer et qu’ils occupent une place prépondérante dans les enjeux économiques touchant les soins aux patients cancéreux, ajoute Victoria Vertesi, vice-présidente de l’Unité centrée sur le patient en hôpital, Sanofi Canada. C’est pourquoi notre approche centrée sur le patient comprend les soins aux aidants. Au Canada, nous sommes prêts à adopter des solutions novatrices qui aident les patients et permettent aux aidants de retrouver une vie saine et productive. »

À propos du sondage

Le sondage a été réalisé en ligne en mai 2013, par l’entremise du groupe en ligne de Léger, LegerWeb.
L’échantillon comptait 502 Canadiens (301 patients et 201 aidants) atteints du cancer, ayant eu le cancer, qui sont actuellement des aidants pour un cancéreux ou qui ont été des aidants.

Un échantillon aléatoire de même taille donnerait une marge d’erreur de ±4,4 %, 19 fois sur 20.

À propos de Sanofi

Sanofi est un leader mondial et intégré de la santé qui recherche, développe et commercialise des solutions thérapeutiques centrées sur les besoins des patients. Sanofi possède des atouts fondamentaux dans le domaine des soins de santé avec sept plateformes de croissance : la prise en charge du diabète, les vaccins humains, les médicaments innovateurs, la santé grand public, les marchés émergents, la santé animale et Genzyme, sa nouvelle acquisition. Sanofi est cotée à Paris (EURONEXT : SAN) et à New-York (NYSE : SNY).

Les sociétés Sanofi du Canada regroupent Sanofi Canada (produits pharmaceutiques), Sanofi Pasteur (vaccins), Sanofi Santé grand public (santé et beauté), Genzyme (maladies rares) et Merial (santé animale). Collectivement, ces sociétés emploient plus de 1 700 personnes dans tout le pays. En 2012, les sociétés Sanofi ont investi 122 millions de dollars en recherche et développement au Canada, stimulant la création d’emplois, les échanges commerciaux et les occasions d’affaires à l’échelle du pays.

Pour de plus amples renseignements ou pour obtenir une entrevue avec un patient atteint du cancer, une personne prenant soin d’un patient cancéreux, un représentant du Réseau canadien des survivants du cancer, et un représentant de Sanofi Canada, veuillez communiquer avec :

Catherine R. Cunningham                              Kristin Gable
Sanofi Canada                                              Le Cabinet de relations publiques NATIONAL
Tél : 514-956-6120                                        Tél : 514-843-2378
Cell : 514-713-1634                                      Cell : 514-209-0984
Catherine.cunningham@sanofi.com               KGable@national.ca


[1] Canadian Cancer Statistics 2013, Produced by Canadian Cancer Society, Statistics Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada, Provincial/Territorial Cancer Registries cancer.ca/statistics May 2013

Monday, 9 December 2013

The Importance of Exercise for Cancer Prevention and Recurrence

By David Novak

Cancer is known as one the prevalent diseases in the world today. Every year millions of people are afflicted by this life-threatening disease. Cancer is a class of diseases wherein cells grow out of control. These cancerous cells can even spread to other parts of the body and destroy healthy tissues.

There is no proven way to completely prevent cancer, but there are steps that can lower your risk or keep it from occurring or recurring. Eating a healthy diet is always on the top of the list when it comes to cancer prevention. Certain components of food are found to help in lowering the risk of cancer, such as antioxidants, phytochemicals and omega-3 fatty acids. Physical activity may also reduce cancer risk by enhancing the immune system, preventing obesity, and reducing hormone levels and inflammation.

Surviving cancer is a major accomplishment of every cancer victim. It gives them a new priority in life, which is to prevent cancer from recurring. Same with cancer prevention during cancer treatment. Good food allows cancer victims to replenish all the nutrients that were loss during cancer treatment, as well as boost their weakened immune system. Exercise is also a great way in staving off cancer recurrence. Being physically active doesn’t mean you have to work out for hours. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercises each day.

EXERCISE FOR CANCER PREVENTION

Overweight and obesity have long been associated with many types of cancer. The best way to prevent prevalent diseases such as cancer is to maintain a healthy physique by means of proper nutrition and exercise. As stated by the World Health Organization, limiting weight gain during adulthood can reduce the risk of certain cancers such as colon cancer, renal cell cancer, thyroid cancer and postmenopausal breast cancer.

        Colon cancer - based on research from the National Cancer Institute, there is a 40% to 50% lower risk of colon cancer to those people who exercise regularly. Some evidence also shows that those who maintain an active lifestyle throughout their lives have the lowest risk.
        Lung cancer - studies shows that those who exercise have lowered risk of developing lung cancer, though there is still no significant evidence to support this claim. Some say that this is because those who exercise are less likely to use tobacco.
        Breast cancer - research shows that those who exercise from moderate to vigorous levels (three hours per week) have a 30% to 40% reduced risk of developing breast cancer.
        Uterine cancer - there is a 38% to 46 % lower risk for uterine cancer for women who exercise regularly. Exercise reduces the risk of obesity as well as decreasing the estrogen level, which are both factors in uterine cancer development.

EXERCISE AFTER CANCER

Many oncologists have asserted that moderate physical activity can improve the wellbeing of cancer survivors. A majority of studies that use supervised exercise programs show that physical activity has beneficial effects on the physical fitness of cancer survivors. Several positive effects can be seen in their functional capacity, physical well-being, functional well-being and self-esteem, among others. Based on another study made by L.M. Oldervoll, there is indeed a promising effect of exercise during and after cancer treatment.

Exercise should be moderate for at least 2-3 hours a week. Moderate exercise is when you are doing a physical activity that increases your breathing and heart rate. This is done at a comfortable pace where you can still be able to hold a conversation. Before starting any exercise regime, discuss with your doctor the type and amount of exercise that is considered safe for you. Every cancer survivor has different limitations, thus what the others can do may be unsuitable for you.

Here are several benefits of exercise for cancer survivors:

        reduce cancer recurrence
        faster metabolism
        better weight control and management
        lower blood pressure
        improved flexibility
        improved cardiovascular function
        improved blood sugar regulation
        greater endurance
        improved cholesterol profiles
        better coordination and balance
        strengthened immune system
        prevention of osteoporosis
        less depression and anxiety

Physical activities you can do:

        Start a daily walking routine in your neighborhood.
        Ride your bike
        Scrub your bathroom
        Walk to lunch
        Use the stairs instead of the elevator
        Use an exercise bike or treadmill
        Weed your garden
        Dance to your favorite tune
        Yoga


David Novak’s byline has appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world.  He’s an avid health enthusiast, and frequently is featured in regional and national health publications. He is also a weekly writer for Healthline.  To visit his other stories on Healthline, visit http://www.healthline.com/




Tuesday, 12 November 2013

BMO Insurance Study: More than Two-thirds of Canadian Women are Concerned about the Financial Costs of Cancer

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 29, 2013) - As Breast Cancer Awareness month draws to a close, BMO Insurance has released a study which found that more than two-thirds of Canadian women (67 per cent) are concerned about the potential financial implications of being diagnosed with cancer.

The study also revealed that 68 per cent of women have been personally impacted by cancer (either having been diagnosed with cancer themselves or having an immediate family member and/or close friend battling the disease) and 78 per cent are concerned about the possibility of being diagnosed with cancer.

"Most of us are being touched by cancer in some way, whether being diagnosed with a form of cancer ourselves or supporting a family member or friend with their battle," said Julie Barker-Merz, Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, BMO Insurance. "The good news is that advances in medicine have meant that an increasing number of Canadians are beating the disease. However, the costs associated with treatment have also risen, which can put a strain on personal finances. When you're fighting cancer, the last thing you need is to be dealing with stress about money related issues."

Ms. Barker-Merz noted that, according to the Canadian Cancer Society, the annual household wage loss in Canada from cancer was nearly $18,000. Additionally, one-in-six Ontario cancer patients reported that out-of-pocket costs were significant or unmanageable.

To help ensure that women do not have to worry about the financial costs of fighting cancer and can focus on recovery, BMO Insurance introduced Well Woman. The plan helps individuals who are impacted by one of seven female-specific cancers and provides a cash payment each month for 12 months, as well as cash for hospital stays or surgery. Cash benefits are paid directly to the individual to use in any way she chooses.

Women are Taking Action Against Breast Cancer

The BMO Insurance study also examined what types of precautions Canadian women are taking in the fight against breast cancer. According to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis in Canadian women over the age of 20 and the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in Canadian women. The study found that, in the last 12 months:

Fifty-one per cent of Canadian women have conducted a proper breast self-exam.
Forty per cent have had a mammogram.
Thirty-eight per cent have had their doctor conduct a breast exam.
Twenty-six per cent have spoken to their doctor about breast cancer.
Half of Canadians (men and women) have donated to breast cancer charities.
"As a society we're becoming increasingly aware of the importance of early detection of breast cancer," noted Ms. Barker-Merz. "However, the study's numbers indicate that we still have some way to go. If they haven't already done so, I encourage women to consult with their doctor and determine what tests might be appropriate for them."

For more information on BMO Insurance and the Well Woman plan, please visit www.bmoinsurance.com.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Watch: Jackie Manthorne Featured in Amgen Canada's Video on Biosimilars!

Amgen Canada is proud to share an online video series they have developed on biosimilars. The videos were released today in the digital version of The Globe & Mail.

For the past several months, Amgen has worked with The Globe & Mail to create these online videos that cover the key issues on biosimilars. Participants included Amgen Canada's Karen Burke, who provided perspective on biosimilars in general; Jackie Manthorne, CEO from the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network, who provided the patient perspective; and Michael Reilly, Executive Director from the Alliance for Safe Biologic Medicines, who provided a global perspective on biosimilars, with a focus on why manufacturing matters.

We hope you will enjoy the videos!

See more here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/amgen

video

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Share your story about the impact of a brain tumour with elected officials!

My Story, Your Story – Let’s Tell Government!

It takes just five minutes to make some very important noise!

Click here , select your province below and then complete a simple form to tell your story to your Minister of Health and the health critics of each political party in your province, as well as all of those in Ottawa. Your story will also be shared with Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. This is the first step towards meeting with government officials, across Canada to help make change.  Note: You may receive routine response emails from these offices.

The Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada wants to send 837 messages to elected officials across Canada in October. That’s one for every Canadian who will be diagnosed this month, which is also Brain Tumour Awareness Month. Share your story today and return to this page often.


Brain tumour awareness among those who make decisions about health care, research and services is critical to make changes like ensuring every brain tumour is counted and that patients have access to the care and treatment they deserve. When you share your story, you help raise this critical awareness. And if you want to do more, check out all the Brain Tumour Awareness Month activities.