Thursday, October 14, 2010

Playing for Change

I don't know where you were last night, but you totally missed out in a life experience if you weren't at the Playing for change concert at UofC Mac Hall. All I can say is - SUPERB!!! Even Carman got is toe a tapping and his body a swaying!!!! If you not familiar with this great band, and what they stand for, just google Playing for Change and be amazed!


Tuesday, October 5, 2010


As many of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. As someone who has lived with breast cancer for the past two years, I wanted to make you 'aware' of a recent challenge I have experienced with getting breast cancer treatment in Alberta.

First I would like to acknowledge that I have received excellent care with my battle against breast cancer - Alberta has the best doctors and nurses! Up until recently, all of my direct cancer treatments have been fully funded by the Alberta government - radiation, chemotherapy, Herceptin (a targeted Her2 therapy), Tamoxifen (a pre-menopausal hormone therapy), Femara (a post-menopausal hormone therapy), and Goseralin (a drug to shut down my ovaries). Any drugs that are needed to handle the side-effects of these treatments are for the most part the responsibility of the patient - anti-nausea, steroids, blood boosters.....

I am currently on my fourth round of a chemotherapy called Xeloda with a targeted Her2 therapy called Tykerb. Tykerb has just recently come out of trial and is available for prescription. I was taken back when my doctor advised that Tykerb is not funded by the Alberta government. Alberta Oncologists have been pressuring the government to cover the drug but have not been successful. When I saw my doctor on September 30th I once again voiced my concern that this drug is not covered. He encouraged me to write a letter to the Premier and the Minister of Health and Wellness as the drug is fully covered in Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia.

A 30 day supply of Tykerb costs $3,496.57! I am fortunate to have some coverage through private insurance and the drug company has a drug assistance program, but this drug should be fully covered by the government just like it has covered Herceptin (the first line of defense against Her2 positive breast cancer).

I have started a petition to create some awareness to what is happening with new breast cancer treatments. With people donating so much money this month for a cure for breast cancer, I wanted to share that your money is making a difference and new treatments are being discovered! But new treatments are not necessarily very accessible to those who desperately need it!

Who should sign this petition?

  • Women. In 2010, it is estimated 23,200 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. That is 445/week! That includes women of all ages. At my recent appointment my doctor shared that he recently diagnosed an 18 year old and a 25 year old. Breast cancer is not an 'old woman' disease. 100 women a week die of breast cancer.

  • For the women in your life - your grandma, mom, wife, daughter(s), granddaughter(s). I hope they never get diagnosed with breast cancer, or any cancer at that. But if they should, wouldn't you want them to have all the access to treatment as possible?

  • Any woman who currently has breast cancer, any woman who has had breast cancer, or any individual who loves somebody who has or had breast cancer. We need to stick together and be a force to be reckoned with. Some of us are not as fortunate to be 'cured'. And for those whose cancer will come back, you too may need a new targeted therapy.

  • For any woman who has or had Her2 positive breast cancer - drugs like Tykerb and a trial drug called TDM1 are the new drugs to help increase your chance of survival.

  • Anyone who has lost someone to breast cancer.

  • Anyone who owns or works for a company with a drug plan. Should targeted therapies be claims under private insurance plans, your plans will be greatly affected and premiums will skyrocket.

  • For anyone who does not have private drug coverage. Targeted therapies are simply not feasible on your own.

  • And lastly, for anyone who knows me personally. I need your help. So often I get people saying "If there is anything I can do" - well here is something you can do to help me.

I will be collecting signatures up until October 25th. You can either stop by my house and sign a petition (a clipboard in inside the Rubbermaid container on the front step), you can e-mail me for a copy of the petition at and help me collect signatures. With Thanksgiving this weekend get your family to sign. Also approach friends and colleagues. You can either drop off the signatures at my house or mail them to me at:

Brenda Odovichuc 12 McCune Ave Red Deer, AB T4 N OH2

I will post on my blog how many signatures were collected and if I am able to make any difference in the coverage of Tykerb in Alberta.


I greatly appreciate your help!!