Quebec will now cover the cost of breast prosthetics for cancer patients who have undergone complete or partial mastectomies, Health Minister Gaétan Barrette said Tuesday morning.
The measure, billed as the first of its kind in Canada, will cost $ 3.6 million per year.
Prior to this announcement, Quebec covered 50 per cent of the cost of gel, silicone or fabric prosthetics placed inside a bra, unlike surgical implants which are not covered.
A breast prosthetic can cost up to $ 425 for someone who has had a complete mastectomy, and $ 250 for someone who lost only part of the breast.
Barrette said that 10,000 women per year will gain access to the program.
A boost for self-esteem
“We are very happy to hear this,” said Karine Iseult Ippersiel, vice-president of development at the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation.
She called the move “a step in the right direction,” saying that 10 per cent of the requests made for financial aid from the organization are for these exact types of prosthetics.
“When a woman goes through a mastectomy, it’s the self-esteem that takes the biggest hit,” said Iseult Ippersiel. “You can’t hide it.”
The program will also allow women to switch out their prosthetics for free every two years, to keep pace with changing bodies, and natural wear and tear.
“They are expensive,” said Iseult Ippersiel. “You don’t own 12 pairs like a pair of shoes.”
The Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation reports that one woman out of eight in the province are diagnosed with breast cancer and that 70 per cent of patients undergo some form of mastectomy.