When Life-Saving Meds Are Out Of Reach
We published this story about Amanda* four years ago, in 2018. But, shockingly, if she or anyone with MBC needs a take-home cancer drug in Ontario, nothing has changed. People younger than 65 continue to face delays, dollars and distress with the treatment they need is taken at home.
Amanda* was shocked when she heard the breast cancer had come back and her diagnosis was metastatic breast cancer (MBC). What she had thought was joint pain was not – the cancer had spread to her bones and suddenly everything had changed.
Her oncologist said there was a treatment that was right for her cancer, one that is taken at home, requiring minimal hospital appointments or visits. But the catch…it wasn’t available to Amanda.
Amanda needs a take-home cancer treatment – until there is a cure, it’s treatments that keep the disease controlled and help women with MBC live a better life longer.
If the treatment she needed was an IV treatment taken in the hospital, she could have started right away. This was the case two years before when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. But because Amanda wasn’t old enough and she lives in Ontario, the pill that could help was out of reach.
She didn’t take no for an answer. “I don’t like being told no,” Amanda said.
She contacted her insurance company, her employer, the provincial health ministry and the manufacturer, and consulted a lawyer. She called, emailed and called again. No just wasn’t an option for the mother of two.
“Everything that was once at the bottom of my to-do list suddenly moved to the top. Time was everything, and it was the treatment I needed to have more time. MBC is a total perspective changer.”
Hours turned into days and days turned into weeks. Eight weeks had gone by before a patchwork solution was found and she could finally start her treatment. She went two full months without treatment for MBC.
“It’s overwhelming and exhausting. So much energy was spent fighting and arguing, and it took energy away from living my life.”
And all because she needed a pill to treat her cancer.
“No one should have to jump through hoops like I did. I’m speaking out because if we all stay quiet, change will never happen.”
*Note Amanda’s name has been changed. She’s living well with MBC and hasn’t yet shared her news with family and friends.