Terminal cancer patient asks B.C. government to pay for newly approved treatment

Young made news in May after she was told to wait to see a doctor, despite dire diagnosis

Carol Young isn’t ready to accept that her cancer is incurable.

Young made news in May when she spoke out about delays in being able to secure a timely appointment with an oncologist in Abbotsford, despite having been told she had a month to live without treatment for her lung and brain cancer. After speaking to The News, Young was able to get an appointment, received some treatment and remains alive. She says she has been in relatively good health, although she can feel her cancer getting worse. Still, she hopes that she might be able to access new treatment options

Young, an accomplished Haida artist, is now asking the B.C. government to pay for a new form of cancer treatment now approved in the United States – but not Canada – to treat patients like her.

“I refuse to give up,” she says.

Young, who is now living in Langley, has written to Health Minister Adrian Dix asking for the government to fund immunotherapy treatment at a cancer treatment hospital in New York City. Young’s daughter lives in New York, so she accommodation costs would be minimized, but immunotherapy itself is hugely expensive. Costs have been pegged at $10,000 every two weeks.

But Young hopes that it would give her a shot at extending her life.

“Clinical trials in the U.S.A. are showing immunotherapy is extending and improving the lives of many cancer patients,” Young wrote in her letter to Dix.

RELATED: Provincial health body refuses to release full findings of cancer triage system audit

RELATED: Cancer patient finally gets to see doctor in Abbotsford after media attention

RELATED: Cancer patient given month to live without treatment, but must wait weeks to see doctor

Young has small-cell lung cancer, a particularly deadly form of the disease.

For decades, treatment options for small-cell lung cancer have remained limited and most patients have died within a year. But a new immunotherapy drug called Keytruda was recently approved by the American Food and Drug Administration to treat patients like Young. But the drug is not currently approved for use in Canada for such patients.

Young hasn’t yet confirmed that she qualifies for treatment – she must first consult with a doctor in the United States, a process that itself costs thousands of dollars. But she told Dix that she hopes the government to cover the cost of treatment if she does.

Young also suggested it would be cheaper for Canada to quickly approve the drugs, rather than pay for residents to access treatment in the U.S.

In response to Young’s email, an assistant for Dix wrote back to confirm that the message had been passed along to the Ministry of Health. Staff at the ministry were asked to respond as quickly as possible to Young’s inquiry.

“I will be happy to continue working with you and your family as you move through treatment to ensure that we look at every possible option,” the staffer wrote. “My best wishes to you, Carol, on this difficult journey. You are truly an inspiration.”


@ty_olsen
Do you have more information? Email: tolsen@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Hope’s Wheeled Wild Women hit the road for cancer research

Group of friends ready for the 200-km bike trek that ends in Hope

Hope women save man from potential train incident

Man was standing on 6th Avenue tracks as train approached crossing with horn blasting

PHOTOS: Paintings return to Kilby for fifth annual festival

The Plein Air Festival will be taking place at the historic site all weekend

Cougar spotted in Seabird Island

Residents are asked to report all sightings to conservation

VIDEO: Masterpieces begin to take shape at Hope’s chainsaw competition

More than a dozen chainsaw carvers, including one 14-year-old carver, taking part in four-day event

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Maple Ridge’s first retail cannabis store opens Monday

Spiritleaf is just the second private pot shop in the Fraser Valley

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Most Read