The Canadian Cancer Society is calling on all Ontario MPPs to adopt a motion seeking to add coverage of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test to the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, when ordered by a physician. A PSA test can help find prostate cancer early, before spreads outside of the prostate.
“For the 1 in 9 men expected to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, the news can be devastating. Early detection is key to giving the men receiving this news a better chance at survival, yet Ontario forces men to pay out of pocket when they make informed decisions about their health,” says Dr. Stuart Edmonds, Executive Vice President of Mission, Research and Advocacy at the Canadian Cancer Society.
The cost of a PSA test is currently paid out-of-pocket by asymptomatic individuals in Ontario and British Columbia who would like to take the test after having a conversation with their doctor about the benefits and limitations. All other 8 provinces and 3 territories cover the cost of the test by referral without requiring signs and symptoms. In 2020, an estimated 9,800 Ontario men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 1,550 will die. Black men and those with a family history of prostate cancer are at higher risk.
“We’ve made tremendous progress over the years and, if detected early, almost 100% of individuals diagnosed with prostate cancer will survive at least five years or more. If detected at a later stage , then the survival rate drops to only 29%. Money simply shouldn’t stand in the way of receiving a PSA test. CCS is calling on Ontario MPPs to come together and remove cost as a barrier for early detection,” says Edmonds.
CCS believes all Canadians should be able to have a PSA test for early detection of prostate cancer without having to pay out-of-pocket when their physician requests it, regardless of where they live in Canada.
On February 1, 2020, Prostate Cancer Canada amalgamated with the Canadian Cancer Society, bringing together the strengths of two organizations that share many common goals: preventing cancer, funding life saving cancer research, and ensuring no one faces cancer alone. No other organization does what we do; we are the voice for Canadians who care about cancer. We fund groundbreaking research, provide a support system for all those affected by cancer and shape health policies to prevent cancer and support those living with the disease.
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Canadian Cancer Society