CancerCare Manitoba
News Item

October 7, 2015

Improvements To Breast Prosthesis Program Will Provide Stronger Services, Reduce Costs For Patients: Minister Blady

It is now easier for women to access a wider selection of breast prosthetics and bras thanks to a joint program between the Manitoba government and CancerCare Manitoba (CCMB), Health Minister Sharon Blady announced today.

"We are always looking at supporting patients to make life after treatment for cancer a little easier," said Minister Blady. "By partnering with CancerCare Manitoba, we are able to provide patients with streamlined access and lower costs for prosthetics and bras. This decision was made in consultation with breast cancer survivors as well as CancerCare Manitoba."

Previously, patients could apply for coverage either through Manitoba Health, Healthy Living and Seniors or CancerCare Manitoba for their prosthetics and bras. Combining the benefits from both organizations means more options for women to choose the prosthetic and bra that is best for them, and reduces the paperwork needed to access coverage, the minister said.

Patients will also be given more product choices under the enhanced program, and custom prosthetics and bras will now covered to the same value as 'off-the-shelf' options, she noted, adding the increase in product choices will ensure all women have access to products that will meet their needs.

"The emotional impact of losing a breast to cancer is different for each woman, and it is both a medical and a very personal decision whether to opt for breast reconstruction or to wear a prosthesis," said Jill Taylor-Brown, director, patient and family support services, CancerCare Manitoba, and lead for the Manitoba Breast Prosthesis Program. "Providing women with more options after a mastectomy is an important part of followup care for cancer patients. Since 2009, CancerCare Manitoba's partnership with the province has already helped 3,500 Manitoba women obtain a prosthesis."

It is estimated the Manitoba government will contribute $500,000 annually to the joint program, Minister Blady said, adding that between 900 and 1,000 women will benefit from this program per year.

Minister Blady noted the importance of building government and community partnerships that work for women, adding that in addition to this enhanced program, temporary breast prostheses are available free-of-charge from the Canadian Cancer Society.

For more information the new program, contact the Breast Cancer Centre of Hope at 204-788-8080.

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