Canadian Cancer Society encouraged by increased funding to help cancer patients

27 September 2017

Halifax -

The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) is encouraged by news today that the Nova Scotia Government will create a new take-home therapies cancer program to help patients pay for high drug deductibles and co-payments. Today’s provincial budget reported an initial investment of $846,000 with an additional $2 million per year over the next 3 years.

In the past, most cancer medications were administered intravenously in hospitals and covered under government plans. Today, many cancer medications are taken at home and are not publicly funded through the same programs as medications delivered in hospital. This means patients are required to draw on private insurance, often resulting in large deductibles and co-pays. If patients do not have private or public insurance, they can be left with huge bills to pay. It is estimated that more than 60% of new cancer drugs are take-home options, typically pills or self-injectables, and cost an average of $6,000 a month.

“The development of a take-home cancer drug program could reduce significant financial barriers for cancer patients,” says Kelly Cull, Manager of Public Affairs. “Ultimately, this program can help prevent a financial strain that often results in significant debt for cancer patients and families.”

The current patchwork funding system for cancer drugs across the country often results in delays to treatment, inequity among the patient population, and a significant level of anxiety for patients. The ability to administer cancer drugs at home often means less travel for cancer patients and enables patients to be in a more comfortable setting while they are sick.

“When you are going through a cancer experience, you should be focused on getting well, not on the price of your medications or how you will manage to climb out of debt after your treatment., says Cull.

Recently, the Canadian Cancer Society released new statistics showing that nearly half of Canadians are expected to be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives and 1 in 4 Canadians is expected to die of it.

About the Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.


For more information:

Kelly Cull Senior Manager, Public Affairs - Atlantic