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Advocacy

Advocacy

Campaigns for Change

Rethink’s advocacy program boldly puts young women’s issues on the agenda and tackles issues like access to treatment and gaps in care. We are working closely with young women, placing them at the center of making much needed changes to improve breast cancer services, treatment, education and research for all women.

To get involved in our Campaigns for Change please click on the links below or contact Shawna from Rethink.

Current Campaigns

A BITTER PILL: TAKE HOME CANCER TREATMENT

A cancer diagnosis can be devastating. But then imagine that the treatment you need, the one your oncologist says is best for your cancer, isn’t available to you simply because it comes in the form of a pill.

That is the reality for cancer patients in Ontario between the ages of 25 and 64 whose cancer can be best treated by take-home cancer treatments, or in other words, a cancer treatment in pill form that is taken at home.  These patients don’t have a choice – their oncologist prescribes what’s best for their cancer and it may only come in a pill.

In Ontario, patients who are between the ages of 25 and 64 face two different cancer systems. One for IV treatments taken in the hospital that is fully funded. And another for treatment taken in pill form at home that includes delays, administrative challenges and out-of-pocket costs to the patient.  If the best treatment for your cancer only comes in a pill – and you’re either not young enough or not old enough – get ready for added stress and a significant hit to your bank account. How is this fair?

This issue is especially important to young women living with breast cancer.  For breast cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, most of the newest treatment are in pill form and taken at home with more than 10 others expected in the pipeline.  This offers patients a lot of hope and promise, but not if they cannot access these treatments in Ontario.

Nearly 2,000 Ontarians have signed our petition demanding universal access to take-home cancer treatments. With a new government in office we are looking for a commitment to equal funding for take-home cancer treatments. We are currently working behind the scenes, talking to elected officials about next steps on how to equal funding a reality.

Do you have personal experience trying to access drugs not currently funded and want to share your story? If so, please contact Shawna from Rethink.

#MBCintheDark

We called out to Canadians for their support to ensure the voices and values of women with MBC are represented when decisions about their health and care are made. As a result, over 10,000 supporters took action to help end #MBCinthedark.

Their voices were heard.

The pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA) has announced a set of crucial benchmarks that improve transparency and timelines when negotiating the price of cancer medications. This is a huge win that will bring effective treatments to women living with metastatic breast cancer faster.

But benchmarks only work if they’re met – that’s why we need you. Allies like you must pledge to use their voices to ensure these benchmarks aren’t ignored. Together, we’ll hold decision makers accountable.

Will you be an ally for women living with MBC? Sign the pledge today.

Care Guidelines for Young Women with Breast Cancer

Rethink Breast Cancer has developed a set of recommended Care Guidelines for Young Women with Breast Cancer to inform young women of the care they should be receiving and to inform health care professionals of the unique issues that young women face which should be addressed when treating young breast cancer patients.

The Care Guidelines have been developed in consultation with younger women with breast cancer as well as our professional advisors in oncology, nursing and psychosocial support. They are based on original work by UK specialist breast cancer support charity Breast Cancer Care.

Right now, the Care Guidelines are promoted through our Give-A-Care website delivered into the hands of breast cancer patients through the unique product line. In 2019, we are embarking on a plan to see the Care Guidelines implemented in every cancer centre in Canada.

View the Care Guidelines.

Our Wins

Oncotype Dx Test Funding

In 2013, we brought our advocacy messages to the provincial legislature in the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario, calling for greater access to evidenced based treatments and diagnostic testing.

Our work paid off! Earlier this year, the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta announced they will fund the Oncotype Dx test for all eligible women in those provinces. Alberta announced funding on March 25, 2014, followed by a positive funding recommendation by the BC government on April 22nd.

Deconstructing Breast Reconstruction

In December 2013, Rethink’s Executive Director, MJ DeCoteau, along with our Senior Advocacy Manager, Ashley Mac Isaac-Butler, and our Board Member, Dr. Sunil Verma, met with the Minister of Health in Ontario to discuss the lengthy wait times for women who are at high risk of developing breast cancer and choose prophylactic mastectomies.

Since that meeting, the Minister has commissioned The Breast Reconstruction Working Group and Expert Panel at Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) to examine this issue in-depth and advise on best practices in the area.This information will help inform CCO and the Ministry on the needs for services in this area, and address recommendations for the optimal delivery of breast cancer reconstruction services in the province of Ontario.

We see ourselves as a resource for ongoing information to the Ontario government on how to effectively help young women with breast cancer. We will be conducting our own background work into this issue and will work with CCO and the Ministry of Health, to ensure that young women facing this disease have timely access to prevention surgeries and reconstruction so that they can personalize their own care.

We’re always eager to hear from our community. If you have a breast reconstruction story that you would like to share please contact Shawna from Rethink.

Our Reports

National Report

Breast Cancer in Young Women in Canada – A Needs Assessment

Download the report to learn more:
ENGLISH | FRENCH

Metastatic Report

Metastatic Breast Cancer in Canada: The Lived Experience of Patients and Caregivers

Download the report to learn more:
ENGLISH | FRENCH