EDMONTON, AB (March 24, 2014): Health Minister Fred Horne needs to immediately announce funding for the Onctotype DX diagnostic test for breast cancer, so Alberta women facing a breast cancer diagnosis can start receiving its benefits, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.
Sources within Alberta Health say funding for the Oncotype DX test – a minimally invasive genomic test that can determine a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, as well as the best course of treatment and chance of recurrence – has been approved, following a review process that began last May. The test has been recommended by the Alberta Breast Cancer group and 5 other provinces. Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said there’s no reason to delay the announcement, except to politicize it. “The Minister is waiting to do a big flashy press conference so he can score as many political points as he can out of it,” Smith said. “This isn’t about politics, however. This is about giving women facing breast cancer another tool in their fight. The Minister needs to quit dragging his feet and just announce the funding.” In May, Horne said his department was reviewing the merits of the Oncotype DX test. Wildrose learned recently the result of the departmental review was to approve funding. Wildrose Health Critic Heather Forsyth said Horne’s delayed announcement is putting patients at risk who stand to gain from the many benefits the test offers. “A breast cancer diagnosis is one of the scariest health situations a woman may ever face,” Forsyth said. “This test helps women prepare for their road to recovery by indicating what treatments will work best for them, whether it is surgery or chemotherapy. The Minister needs to start putting the people of this province ahead of partisan politics and announce the funding now.”