MISSISSAUGA, ON — Erivedge™ (vismodegib) was recently approved in Canada for the treatment of adult patients with histologically confirmed metastatic basal cell carcinoma or locally advanced basal cell carcinoma inappropriate for surgery or radiotherapy. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of canceri, and accounts for 80 per cent of all skin cancer cases. If left untreated, BCC can progress to more advanced stages resulting in severe deformities and debilitating effects, and can even lead to death. When BCC progresses to an advanced state, surgical and non-surgical treatments are not effective or suitable which, up until now, has left this patient population with no treatment options.
"Previously, there were limited medical therapies available to treat this rare and potentially life-threatening disease," says Dr. Marni C. Wiseman, Dermatologist. "Advanced BCCs are often open lesions that may bleed, become infected, and may be associated with unpleasant odours, resulting in both stigmatization and social isolation for patients. The approval of Erivedge™ offers new hope for Canadians living with this devastating disease and gives their health care providers a new treatment option for advanced BCC management."
Murray Thorimbert of Whitby, Ontario, has lived with advanced BCC for almost 35 years. Murray received Erivedge™ as part of a clinical trial.
"Since my early 20s, I have had six to seven surgeries each year to remove BCCs - I even had part of my scalp removed - but the lesions just kept coming back," says Thorimbert. "The continual procedures took a serious toll on me and my family. Since I started taking Erivedge, my lesions started to clear up and I felt like I started to get my life back. I haven't had a single surgery since."