Canadian Survey Highlights Myeloma Awareness And Access To Treatment
Published: Feb 26, 2009 9:59 am
In November 2008, Myeloma Canada, which works in close affiliation with the International Myeloma Foundation, commissioned a national survey called Time to Life on cancer and treatment in Canada.
The survey found that multiple myeloma is still relatively unknown to the general population. An estimated 6,000 Canadians live with the condition. Only 15 percent of Canadians surveyed were able to identify multiple myeloma as a blood cancer. One third thought it was a type of skin cancer, and 36 percent admitted to being unfamiliar with the disease.
The survey was conducted by Angus Reid, a global polling group. The 1,002 survey participants were weighted by education level, age, gender, and region to approximately represent the adult population of Canada.
Canadians were also questioned about access to treatment. Healthcare in Canada varies between provinces, but similar concerns are felt nationwide. According to the survey, 43 percent of Canadians surveyed feel that they would not have access to all the medications needed for cancer treatment. Nonetheless, 64 percent surveyed see cancer as a condition to live with rather than die from.
Access to new therapies for the treatment of multiple myeloma is becoming a topic of interest as incidence of the disease rises. This year alone approximately 1,350 of the estimated 6,000 Canadians living with multiple myeloma will die, and 2,100 new patients will be diagnosed.
In response to the survey, Myeloma Canada President John Lemieux said, "All patients have the right to the most effective treatment recommended by their doctor and Canadians living with multiple myeloma, especially those who are critically ill and who do not have time to wait.” He added, “Immediate access to significant new therapies is essential to giving them a chance at life.”