Canadian Breast Cancer Network Questions 2004

Subject: Request for Response to Questions about the Financial Cost of
Breast Cancer
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 2004 14:15:35 -0400
From: cbcn <cbcn@cbcn.ca>
To: Inova at isn.net

Dear Dr. Novaczek:

The Canadian Breast Cancer Network (CBCN) is a survivor-directed,
national network of organizations and individuals. Its mission is to
provide a national link between all groups and individuals concerned
about breast cancer and to represent the concerns of all Canadians
affected by breast cancer and those at risk. CBCN has 76 partner groups,
over 150 member groups and hundreds of individual members who support
the work of the Network.

A 2004 Canadian Breast Cancer Network (CBCN) survey of nearly 500 women
with breast cancer shows that there is a significant financial impact on
women who are diagnosed with breast cancer and their families. Not only
will those diagnosed with breast cancer (21,000 new cases every year)
struggle with the physical and emotional impact of the disease, they
will also be faced with unexpected and stressful financial costs.

Most women struggle with financial issues as soon as they are diagnosed
with breast cancer. This happens at a time when they should be
concentrating fully on getting through treatment and recovery rather
than dealing with the added stress of worrying about how they will
support themselves when their employment insurance runs out, how they
will make mortgage payments, and where to find money to cover the cost
of much-needed drugs as well as the cost of travel and childcare when
they are away from home for weeks of treatment.

This shouldn't happen in today's Canada! The Federal government has a role to play in making sure that in the future, women diagnosed with breast cancer receive more financial support during diagnosis and treatment.

We therefore invite you to respond to the following questions by June 21 to allow women and their families to have time to thoughtfully consider
their voting choices. Responses will be published on our website
http://www.cbcn.ca, which receives nearly 2 million hits a month, and in our e-letter, which goes out to over 3,000 groups and individuals affected by and concerned about breast cancer in Canada today.

Question 1: Employment Insurance

Survey results_: When asked whether 15 weeks of Employment Insurance
benefits were enough to get them through treatment, 75% of respondents
said they were not long enough. Note that 76% of respondents reported
being off work for over 15 weeks.

If elected, will your party bring forward changes to Employment
Insurance to lengthen sickness benefits for Canadians undergoing
treatment for breast and other cancers as well as other illnesses that require long periods of treatment?

Question 2: Universal Drug Access

Survey Results: 34% of respondents reported that all drugs were free
of charge, while 66% of respondents reported that they had to pay for dru gs

If elected, will your party work actively with and encourage the provincial and territorial governments to increase the speed of drug approval as well as to standardize formularies in order to provide Canadians with universal up-to-date quality drug access no matter where they live?

Question 3: Income Tax

Survey results:

Childcare: 44% of respondents required childcare during treatment; of these, 24% of childcare costs were completely paid by the respondent

Cost of drugs: 66% of respondents reported that they had to pay for drugs

Travel for treatment: 39% of respondents travelled over 50 km to get to the doctor's office and to the hospital, while 61% had to travel over 50 km to get to the cancer centre. Parking at the hospital and cancer centre was also very costly

Homecare: 55% of respondents required homecare during treatment. Of those, 9% either completely or partially had to pay for homecare services themselves

Income during treatment: 19% of respondents were supported by their
spouses/partners, remortgaged their houses, were given loans from family
members or friends, or somehow made do

If elected, will your party make changes to the Income Tax Act so that
Canadians who incur expenses while undergoing treatment for breast and
other cancers as well as other illnesses can deduct these expenses from their income? These expenses would include childcare; elder care; homecare; drugs; travel (mileage, bus tickets/passes, taxis, train or airline tickets, lodging, meals, parking) and other treatment-related costs.

We have attached a summary document of survey results for you to consult.

We thank you for your attention to this important matter. If you are
elected, we will be keeping in touch with you on a regular basis to work
with you on these and other related issues.

Yours sincerely,

Dianna Schreuer
Dianna Schreuer
Canadian Breast Cancer Network

Jackie Manthorne
Executive Director/
Canadian Breast Cancer Network
602 - 331 Cooper Street/rue Cooper
Ottawa, ON Canada K2P 0G5
Tel: (613) 230-3044
Fax: (613) 230-4424
E-mail/Courriel: jmanthorne at cbcn.ca
Websites/sites Web: www.cbcn.ca <http://www.cbcn.ca/> ;
www.cbcn.ca/youngwomen <http://www.cbcn.ca/youngwomen>