Wondering where your favourite kidney cancer specialist was last week? Chances are that he or she was attending the 3rd Canadian Kidney Cancer Forum (CKCF) in King City, just north of Toronto. Attendees included urologists, medical oncologists, pharmacists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, and nurses all who specialize in kidney cancer. Kidney Cancer Canada’s volunteer board was there to provide input from the patient perspective.
The meeting was called to update the Canadian Consensus Guidelines for kidney cancer. These guidelines are published in the CUA (Canadian Urological Association) journal and become the blueprint for the management of kidney cancer from diagnosis, to follow-up care, to advanced disease. The last edition of the Consensus Guidelines was published in 2009, so it was time for an update based upon new research, new knowledge, and new agents available.
The trouble for patients is that as wonderful as the guideline is, not all patients have the option to follow the recommendations. KCC is becoming increasingly concerned about the widening gap between clinical recommendations for treatment and the reality for those patients without private insurance.
To that end, we collected over 40 signatures from medical professionals supporting a Position Statement. The Position Statement is included below. We all need to be aware that medical professionals treating kidney cancer are desperately concerned about the lack of access. Let’s hope that when the 2011 Guidelines are published later in the year that patients will actually be able to follow the path they recommend.
Canadian Kidney Cancer Forum
Jan 21-23 2011
Position Statement on Access to Sequential Treatment for Kidney Cancer
On January 21-23, 2011, Kidney cancer specialists from across Canada met to update the Canadian Consensus Guidelines for the treatment of renal cell carcinoma and to discuss solutions for bridging the widening gap between recommended clinical practice and funded treatment options available to their patients.
The 2011 Consensus Guidelines reflect the tremendous advances in the treatment of this disease since the advent of targeted therapies in 2006. Unfortunately, provincial drug plans are not keeping pace with these advancements. While evidence demonstrates increased survival through the use of sequential therapies, Canadian patients depending upon their provincial plans currently have access to only ONE line of therapy.
As medical professionals, we recognize that difficult choices are made within our publicly funded health care system. We recognize that decisions must be based upon various criteria including clinical and economic evidence. However, with rarer cancers such as advanced renal cell carcinoma, those decisions must take into account other factors including the nature of this life-threatening disease and the lack of alternative treatments available.
As Canadian oncology professionals with expertise in kidney cancer, we believe:
- All kidney cancer patients should have timely access to appropriate treatments, regardless of where they live or their ability to pay.
- That each patient is unique, requiring individualized treatment plans and flexibility in treatment options, often requiring more than one line of treatment
- There is sufficient medical evidence to support immediate funding of second-line treatment across Canada.
As medical professionals, we urge provincial reimbursement officials to modify the existing reimbursement criteria to align with best practices in the sequential treatment of kidney cancer as referenced in the Canadian Consensus Guidelines for Renal Cell Carcinoma.