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Each year in the United States there are approximately 1, 437,180 new cases of cancer diagnosed (not including nonmelanoma skin cancer), and death rates are estimated at 565,650.

What is the Treatment Protocol for Cancer?

Now more than ever before with the economy being in such a dire state and more people facing job cuts, health insurance is becoming inadequate or obsolete altogether.  Taking the frightening statistics into consideration, health insurance for cancer patients is a topic which many people are gravely concerned about.

Treatment for cancer will consist of various different medical protocols which will vary according to many factors.  The type and stage of cancer, age and health of the patient, the size and location of the tumor and other factors will determine whether the disease can be treated using drugs, surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy.  What methods will work best for a person’s particular form of cancer can only be determined after a comprehensive evaluation by an oncologist (cancer specialist) and other medical professionals treating the individual.

Some people will exhaust “traditional” cancer treatment methods and may want to try using holistic, alternative or natural means.  What types of treatment will be covered under a health insurance for cancer patient policy; will depend upon the discretion of the insurance company, the parameters of the policy and many other circumstances.  The financial burden caused by cancer treatment is something experienced by the insured and uninsured, each year the grueling disease costs more than an estimated $200 billion to treat and the amount rises annually.

Why is Health Insurance for Cancer Patients so Important?

Because it can cost an average of $300,000 per year to receive treatment for cancer, health insurance for cancer patients is extremely important.  Researchers determined that many people with cancer have paid an average of 12% of the costs of treatment directly out of their own pocket.  Additionally, a study published in Cancer, found that more than 20% of all cancer survivors had delayed or missed out on much needed, critical care which can have a direct bearing on the outcome for the person’s life.

Almost 20% of American citizens have reported having difficulty paying out of pocket for medical expenses, which means that individuals suffering from cancer might not be receiving the best care possible.  An average of one in four of every cancer patients also report having to use all of their disposable income, as well as any savings in order to pay for cancer treatment.  These statistics point to an alarming wake-up call that while health insurance does help to defray some of the expenses of cancer treatment, it does not absorb all the costs.

The need for health insurance during cancer treatment is of the utmost importance, it can and does have a direct bearing on how or even if, someone can be cured and will recover.  At a time in life when someone is worried about merely surviving, cancer patients are unable to afford the costly treatments required to beat cancer.  Some of the protocols to treat cancer are very expensive, take Erbitux (cancer drug) into consideration, which can cost approximately $10,000 per month.  Having health insurance while being treated for cancer will result in a person being able to afford the recommended treatment and plays a vital role in the outcome for many individuals, without it many people will sadly succumb to the disease.

What Can be Done to Help an Uninsured Cancer Patient?

For those suffering from cancer and have no private health insurance, it can be a frightening battle and a person might not know what to do or where to turn for help.  However, there are options available to people suffering from cancer that have little or no health insurance, depending upon the state in which the person lives, Medicare might be a viable option for certain individuals.  Facing cancer is a startling reality that many people all across the nation deal with each day and provided with the right treatment and early detection, certain forms of the disease can be successfully conquered and beaten.

Medicare is a state offered health insurance plan for individuals that meet certain income or socioeconomic guidelines.  If a person falls at or below the standard for federal poverty, a state sponsored plan might be the best option available.  What a person qualifies for will be determined after an evaluation and interview by a local benefits office and will vary according to income and state lived in.

Another option to consider is checking into clinical trials available for cancer patients.  Some hospitals and research facilities across the nation will offer clinical trials which may cover treatment costs, medication expenses and other medical needs of the patient.  These trials are beneficial in that some people that have not responded to “traditional” treatment methods are given another option or choice.  Entering a clinical trial for cancer treatment will depend upon the recommendations of an oncologist and other cancer specialists, not every person will be eligible.

It can also be eventful and beneficial for a cancer patient being prescribed certain prescription medications to check with drug manufacturers.  There are many drug companies in the nation which offer a reduced fee or provide medication at low or no cost for people that meet certain income guidelines or that do not have private health insurance.  The best thing a person can do is to contact these companies and inquire about any possible programs available for their particular form of medication and see if there are any options or special discount programs.

Overview

There are new advances being made each day in the world of cancer treatment which improve survival rates and quality of life for individuals suffering from this horrible disease.  Early detection and intervention is what saves lives and whether or not a person has health insurance has a direct bearing on the outcome the individual has.  Nobody should ever give up hope and a person should check into the various programs and services available for those that lack proper health insurance, it could end up saving a life.

  • www.medicinenet.com/cancer/page2.htm
  • www.cancer.org/docroot/eto/content/eto_1_2x_chemotherapy_what_it_is_how_it_helps.asp
  • www.cancer.gov/aboutnci/servingpeople/CostOfCancer
  • www.wzzm13.com/news/health/beat_the_odds_story.aspx?storyid=99937

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