Mother travelling to Germany for costly cancer treatment unavailable in Canada
Published Friday, November 30, 2018 9:45AM EST
An Ontario mother of three whose cancer returned after eight years is flying to Germany on Saturday for costly treatment not offered in Canada.
Amanda Gould will undergo regional chemotherapy for the tumour in her lungs, a procedure that will cost her around $200,000. If offered in Canada, it would cost around $130,000, she told CTV’s Your Morning, because there would be no currency exchange or need for extended hospital stays. In November, Gould started a GoFundMe campaign to help raise the $200,000 needed. She had raised nearly $50,000 at time of writing.
“I need your help, to help me fight this cancer!” she wrote on the page. “(The) amount of money I need to raise scares the crap out of me but I know as a village/community we can do this.”
Regional chemotherapy, unlike typical chemo, targets a tumour directly instead of generally throughout the body. Despite some anecdotal success, Canadian doctors say there is not enough evidence to prove the treatment works for soft tissue sarcoma.
“Canada is evidence-based,” Gould told CTV’s Your Morning on Friday. “So right now it’s just not something we have any access to. That’s why we need to head to Germany.”
She’s nervous for the “unknown,” but said she is excited she’s able to access treatment unavailable in her own country. “I have three little kids at home. I have a husband,” she said. “I just want to get better for my family.”
Gould was diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma while she was 34 weeks pregnant with her first child. Doctors induced labour two weeks later and she underwent radiation treatment for more than a month before the tumour was removed. At her five-year check-up Gould was still cancer-free.
But at her eight-year appointment, her life was “turned upside down” when they found the cancer had returned in her lungs.
“You can imagine the sad, silent drive home as we all wondered how this could happen,” she wrote on the fundraiser page. She “sulked and had one bad crappy day” the following day, but then it was “time to FIGHT and deal with this terrible disease!” she wrote.
Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada, responsible for 30 per cent of all deaths every year, according to the Canadian Cancer Society.