The Oncotype DX test is an important diagnostic tool that helps identify which women with early-stage, estrogen-receptor positive and lymph-node-negative breast cancer will benefit from adding chemotherapy to their hormonal treatment. This test also helps assess the likelihood of a breast cancer recurrence. Making an informed decision about chemotherapy can greatly benefit patients quality of life and positive outcomes from treatment.
What is Rethink doing?
Rethink met with members of the Legislative Assembly in Alberta, British Columbia and Nova Scotia advocating for greater access to evidenced based treatments and diagnostic testing to empower young women facing breast cancer to make more personalized treatment decisions. We made it clear that “one size does not fit all” when it comes to young women and breast cancer as their needs are often very different from those of their older counterparts.
On March 25, 2014, it was announced that Alberta Health will now cover the cost of the Oncotype Dx test for women diagnosed with breast cancer and who qualify for the test. On April 22, 2014, British Columbia announced it is now the 6th province to fund the Oncotype Dx test for women diagnosed with breast cancer and who qualify for the test.
What YOU can do
We believe that every eligible patient should have access to Oncotype DX, regardless of financial situation.
The Oncotype DX test is currently funded throughout the United States as well as in the provinces of SK, ON, QC, NL, AB and BC. We need Nova Scotia to follow suit and fund this very important test. You can write to the Honourable Leo Glavine urging him to fund Oncotype Dx in the province of Nova Scotia. If you have paid for Oncotype Dx out of pocket & wish to share your story you can do so by clicking the link below.
- Click ‘SEND EMAIL’ at the bottom of the letter to open a new email with Minister Glavine’s email address OR open a new email & address it to Health.Minister@novascotia.ca
- Copy & Paste the letter into this new email
- Add your information to the bottom of the letter
- Personalize the letter (optional)
- cc: firstname.lastname@example.org
Oncotype DX Letter Campaign – Nova Scotia
Honourable Leo Glavine
Minister of Health & Wellness
17th Floor, Barrington Tower
1894 Barrington Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Dear Minister Glavine,
I am writing as one of the many women who is concerned about breast cancer.
In October Rethink Breast Cancer www.rethinkbreastcancer.com met with Members of the Legislative Assembly to talk about their organization that represents the needs of young women facing a breast cancer diagnosis and also to raise awareness on access to the best evidence based treatments and diagnostic testing.
These meetings were an opportunity to highlight the need for greater access to evidenced based treatments and diagnostic testing to empower young women facing breast cancer to make more personalized treatment decisions. It was also made clear that “one size does not fit all” when it comes to young women and breast cancer as their needs are often very different from those of their older counterparts.
One of the issues that was raised during these meetings was the lack of funding in the province of Nova Scotia for the Oncotype Dx test. This is a diagnostic test that helps identify which women with early-stage, estrogen-receptor positive and lymph-node-negative breast cancer are more likely to benefit from adding chemotherapy to their hormonal treatment. This test also helps assess the likelihood that an individual woman’s breast cancer will return. More than 12,000 patients in Canada have benefited from the additional information that theOncotype Dx test has provided.
Oncotype Dx has been studied, reviewed and endorsed by a number of international bodies and Health Technology Assessment Committees including by NICE in the United Kingdom. The British Columbia Cancer Agency undertook their own analysis of this test and found that the original treatment decision for 30% of their patients changed. Moreover, they found it to be very cost effective. These economic findings were consistent with the findings of five other independent published Canadian studies which concluded that Oncotype Dx was very cost effective within the context of the Canadian Health Care System.
Oncotype Dx is considered a standard of care in the United States and has received approval from various committees including the Ontario Health Technology Assessment Committee.
I applaud the extensive review that this test has received in the province at this time; however, this has been a very lengthy process. I can speak on behalf of the many women who welcome more personalized choice in our breast cancer treatment. I appreciate that the approval process requires due diligence but it is very frustrating in the length of time that takes. In the case of Oncotype Dx which has been approved in a number of provinces, we should not be waiting over 12 months for a decision.
Can you give me a definitive date on when you expect to receive a funding decision on Oncotype Dx?
I am aware that the funding of Oncotype Dx was raised during Question Period on October 24th. Your willingness to take action and review this test for funding within the province demonstrates your support for women diagnosed with breast cancer. The sooner this test is funded in the province of Nova Scotia the sooner we will begin to see improvements for the individuals and families affected by this terrible disease.
I look forward to receiving a response from you.
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