Save Your Skin Foundation

Save Your Skin Foundation

February 04, 2015 08:00 ET

February 4th is World Cancer Day and in Quebec Another Cancer Drug is Denied

Save Your Skin Foundation Supports INESSS' Evaluation of Yervoy® (ipilimumab) as a First Line Treatment of Metastatic Melanoma, and Hopes Quebec Government Allows Access to Patients Soon

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - Feb. 4, 2015) - February 4th marks World Cancer Day and in Quebec, a treatment for metastatic melanoma has been denied. Save Your Skin Foundation Supports the recent Institut national d'excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS) evaluation of Yervoy® (ipilimumab) as a first line treatment of Metastatic Melanoma, and hopes the Quebec Government will approve patient access soon.

Currently melanoma patients have limited options for first line treatments, making equal and timely access critical to patients who are dealing with life and death scenarios. INESSS's analysis aligns with clinical evidence, and with the requests of the melanoma community in Quebec, including the Save Your Skin Foundation, to recognize the importance of immunotherapy for advanced stages of melanoma and to increase survival rates associated with its use. We hope that this evaluation will encourage hospitals to provide clinical access to patients with a real necessity for Yervoy® despite the refusal due to economic costs through the processus de nécessité particulière ensuring that patients will still be able to receive treatment, as indicated in the INESSS report.

"We are disappointed Yervoy® didn't receive Government approval as a first line treatment for melanoma, however it's positive that the current government is exploring how to work with the rest of Canada on how to unlock the access problem in Quebec", says Kathleen Barnard, President and Founder of the Save Your Skin Foundation. "Once again, Quebec is denying access to important oncology treatments that are available in other provinces. Delays in receiving treatment can have significant impact on cancer survival in Quebec."

The Save Your Skin Foundation strongly supports the Quebec Government's initiative to work in collaboration with the Pan-Canadian Purchasing Alliance (PCPA). "The minister's decision reaffirms the need for communication between the government and drug manufacturers and the necessity for Québec to join PCPA," explains Barnard, further expanding by saying "We have seen this process be effective and positive across the country. In the meantime, Quebec patients are dying from melanoma even though safe and successful treatment is available in Canada."

Many patients in Quebec are living proof that immuno-therapies are increasing their chances of survival, especially in cases of metastatic malignant melanoma where, historically, a typical life expectancy was six months. If the Government is unable to find a solution, Quebecers will not have the same chance of surviving advanced cancers as their Canadian counterparts. "As a patient, and in order to have hope for my future and for others diagnosed with melanoma, I believe that a treatment such as Yervoy® must be used as a first line treatment. Efforts need to be put in the right place, life doesn't have a price," says Pierre Bousquet, a melanoma survivor from Québec who received Yervoy® through special access.

According to the World Health Organization one in every three cancers diagnosed is skin cancer and nearly 2-3 million people will be diagnosed with skin cancers worldwide. In Québec alone 40,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancers and 1,000 melanomas will be diagnosed, with 100 people dying of Advanced Malignant Metastatic Melanoma.

Yervoy® was recently approved by pCODR as a first line treatment for melanoma.

About Melanoma

In its late stages, the average life expectancy for melanoma is just six months, with a one-year survival rate of only 25 percent, making metastatic melanoma one of the most aggressive forms of cancer and one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer. An estimated 6,500 Canadians out of which 1000 will be from Quebec will be diagnosed with melanoma this year and 1,050 will die from it (100 from Québec). Melanoma is responsible for 70 percent of deaths associated with skin cancer.

About the Save Your Skin Foundation

The Save Your Skin Foundation is a Canadian not-for-profit foundation. Through events and other initiatives, the Foundation focuses on raising funds for education and awareness, providing emotional and financial support to those dealing with melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers, and on supporting the ongoing research and treatment of skin cancer - especially melanoma.

For more information, please visit

Contact Information

  • Sabrina Hanna
    Facebook Save Your Skin Foundation