Cancer drug to be covered – Metro US

Cancer drug to be covered

Pleading colorectal cancer patients breathed a sigh of relief after a government decision Thursday to include a costly drug to its coverage list in April.

The drug Avastin is known to shrink tumours by cutting off the blood supply in some patients, while having little or no effect on others.

Still, suffering patients like 32-year-old James Henderson were eagerly awaiting Thursday’s decision.

“Things are going in the wrong order,” said his father, Tom Henderson, from the Alberta legislature Thursday. “At times, I think it should be me on that table, not him … But this isn’t just a pity party for my son — it’s for every Albertan that needs it. We believe it’s vital.”

Henderson joined a group of cancer-affected families, who boarded a bus bound for the Alberta legislature yesterday.

A few revealed the gruelling emotional toll and soaring medical bills amassed in acquiring the drug for their family members, all in the advanced stages of the disease.

“We didn’t know how we were going to come up with that money, but wanted to start the treatment with the hopes that funding would come through before he finished his treatment,” said Michelle Graham, whose husband, Ken, was diagnosed with inoperable stage four colorectal cancer in June 2008.

Ken has responded positively to Avastin, Michelle said. The drug costs the family $4,000 each month.

Cost to province

The decision is expected to cost the province $4 million to $5 million dollars each year.

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