Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 - Holy Kaka! $$$

Yes, it's me again... I just had to pop in to correct something I said yesterday that wasn't quite right. Yes, I am starting the oral chemo tomorrow morning and yes I take it twice/day for two weeks each cycle (a cycle = 2 weeks of pills + 1 week of no pills), but for some reason I thought I would be popping 1 pill in the morning and 1 pill in the evening. At $75/pill, that would be $150/day. Well, I was wrong. I picked up the pills today at the BC Cancer Agency pharmacy and I will actually be taking FOUR pills twice/day. So that's 8 pills X $75 = $600/day in chemo. So one cycle of this chemo costs $8400. If my system can tolerate it, I will be going through 6 cycles, which will take me to the end of October 2010. When you are looking at figures like this in $$$'s, then I can only thank the universe that I live where I do. The BC Cancer Agency is recognized around the world for their research and drug trials and it's because of this that they cover treatments prescribed by the BC Cancer Agency oncologists. If they didn't cover it, then I suppose BC Medical would pick up part of the costs but I've never questioned that since my cancer treatments have been covered by BC Cancer Agency (my arthritis pain meds have been covered by my Extended Health Care insurance up to 80%).

But I really have to wonder how people who don't have healthcare insurance, can afford to be treated for cancer? Cancer is NOT a cheap illness... it cost mega-bucks and appears to be ongoing. When first diagnosed, there can be surgery involved as well as various diagnostic and ongoing testing/scans/etc. I know that a PET scan costs between $7000 - $9000 for one scan. I'm not sure how much a CT scan costs, I know they are much cheaper than a PET scan but then they serve a totally different function. But since Dec 2006, I must have easily had 25 CT scans. Then there were the surgeries, hospital stays, chemo sessions at the chemo unit, follow up care, home nursing care, ongoing followup monitoring, etc. Now, here we go with a new treatment of chemo, this time it will be for 4 1/2 months (vs the 8 months the last time) and it will be less intense in that I can take the pills myself without needing followup nursing care. But even so, this less intense treatment is going to end up costing over $50,000 and that's not counting any CT scans, the blood work, the oncologist appts, etc.

I just am so very, very thankful that I live surrounded by excellent doctors, researchers and specialists who are looking after my health, while also surrounded by the most incredible friends who surround me with so much support and help. It really and truly is amazing when you stop and think about just how blessed I am!



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