Anyone following our website and this blog will know that we have been advocating right across the
country to open up access to sequential treatment for advanced kidney cancer. Unfortunately the
clock is ticking and we now have just a little over 5 weeks until the free access program for Afinitor
comes to an end.
The sad truth is that many Canadian patients whose disease progresses on their first line of therapy
will be left without funded treatment options after January 31st 2011.
What are patients going to do?
Firstly, we hope that they will fight back — and we’ll be right there to raise the volume on each case.
Secondly, we want to help them sort out any options they might have in their individual province or with
any insurance they might have.
And last but not least, patients will have to scour the landscape for any clinical trials they might eligible for.
If ever there was a time to look at clinical trials, that time is now. Patients who are just about to start treatment might want to give serious consideration to a trial that will guarantee them two lines of therapy. One such trial (known as the RECORD3 trial) is testing the sequence of Sutent/then Afinitor versus Afinitor/then Sutent. Either way, as a patient, you are guaranteed both treatment options. (You can only enter this trial as a first-line patient who has had no prior treatment.) Physicians currently recruiting for
that trial include: Drs Andrew Attwell, Georg Bjarnason, Danny Heng, Pierre Karakiewicz, Jennifer Knox, Christian Kollmannsberger, Catherine Sperlich, Peter Venner, Lori Wood, Sunil Yadav.
Other trials may well offer you the chance to access a brand new agent such as tivozanib (currently open as a first line trial in Montreal only).
What if you don’t want to be on a trial?
While we believe that all patients should be able to choose whether to participate in a clinical trial or take a standard line of therapy, the access situation in Canada for those without private insurance will force some patients into a trial simply because they have no other option for treatment.
Yes, a clinical trial can be inconvenient. Sometimes a little extra travel into a major centre will be required. Sometimes a little extra bloodwork and monitoring will be involved. Please don’t let that added level of inconvenience prevent you from accessing treatment.
Help us keep all patients informed
All mrcc patients should be fully aware that there is no guarantee that we will have funded second line treatment at all in any province in Canada. At KCC, we are going to do our best to keep our clinical trials information up to date on our website here.
Unfortunately trials in the second-line are few and far between at the moment. A request: If you hear of new trials for rcc at your cancer centre, please let us know. As an online community we can share information to help each other navigate through a complicated system that offers us precious few options.
Here’s hoping that we have some better news to share early in the new year! Thank you to all who have written to your MPP/MLA/MNA this past year. We’re not done — not by a long shot.