June 25, 2009 update: Editor’s Note: We are sorry to hear of Farrah Fawcett’s passing. We pray that she rests in comfort now, and we wish her family and friends peace in her passing.
We did watch Friday night’s Farrah’s Story on NBC. Of all the blog postings I’ve written over the last 2 years, this blog received the most commentary, the bulk either on my Facebook page or sent to me personally.
So it would seem safe to say that Ms. Fawcett has some mission accomplished. I never heard of anal cancer before this. Little research has been pointed toward anal cancer treatment and cure. It is a deadly cancer, that from what I learned, easily metastasizes. I should, therefore, smile when my doctor gets too personal in that place during my annual exam.
I compliment the actress for the honesty of her treatment, reactions, and loss of dignity. The last shot of her was unrecognizable.
But at documentary’s end, I turned toward spouse and asked, “What do you suppose all of that costs?” Knowing how much is cost for my relatively minor cancer (in comparison to Fawcett’s battle), he responded, “I hope she made a fortune in her career to pay for it.” Besides the surgeries, hospital stays, x-rays and scans, chemo, the duffel bag of drugs and vitamins she ruffled through near show’s end, the round trip flights to Germany, the out of country housing, at home care, etc., the total cost is outside of my mathematical computation skills.
I researched the internet, but there are too many variables. However, that research fueled what I already know: if I had Fawcett’s diagnosis, I’d be dead now because I could not afford, even with insurance, her treatment.
A recent CNN report states, “One in eight people with advanced cancer turned down recommended care because of the cost, according to a new analysis from Thomson Reuters, which provides news and business information. Among patients with incomes under $40,000, one in four in advanced stages of the disease refused treatment.”
How sad is it when we humans must make the same choice that we often make for our seriously ill pets. I, for one, would not want to jeapordize my family’s financial well-being to battle something that has a likely unfavorable result–mucho dinero por nada.
The report clarifies, “As costs rise, insurers are shifting a greater share to patients, says Neal Meropol of Philadelphia’s Fox-Chase Cancer Center. Many plans now require patients to pay for 20% of their health care — a heavy burden in the case of drugs such as Erbitux, which costs $10,000 a month…David Johnson, director of hematology and oncology at Nashville’s Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, says some of his patients have opted to stop treatment partly because of the cost. His own brother-in-law, a truck driver, turned down Erbitux when he was facing colon cancer. He says patients face a painful dilemma: ‘Do they pay out of pocket — sometimes in the thousands of dollars — or do they forgo the therapy to preserve for their family what modest assets they may have?’
Apparently I am not alone in my thinking.
A MSNBC reports concurs. “It’s a particular issue for patients whose cancer can’t be cured but who are seeking both the longest possible survival and the best quality of life — and may be acutely aware that gaining precious months could mean bankrupting their families.
The prices can be staggering. Consider: There are two equally effective options to battle metastatic colon cancer, the kind spreading through the body — but one costs $60,000 more than the other, says Dr. Leonard Saltz of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.”
The issue laundry list is pages long. This commentary barely cracks open the window of information and bad news for the every day American that may be diagnosed with a vicious and unrelenting cancer.