October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Across the country you’re seeing pink; pink profile pictures, pink ribbons, pink brands, even pink NFL colors. This is all in support of women and men across the globe affected by the disease. It also serves to raise awareness of those that have suffered and are suffering from this disease.
And while awareness is important, action is the motto of this month. All the ribbons and colorful cleats serve as a reminder that if you are a woman over 40 you should get an annual screening.
We, as part of our mission, want to also highlight a frightening trend regarding the treatment of breast cancer: increasing prices.
We’ve reported before that costs for medical procedures like MRIs can be radically different prices. Well, turns out that breast cancer treatment pricing can also differ drastically...regardless of effectiveness.
For instance, researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center looked at the cost of treatment with and without the drug trastuzumab. The difference was jarring.
While trastuzumab is awesome, the study claims that less expensive regimens have similar effectiveness — and using them could “reduce national costs of breast cancer care by more than $1 billion each year.” (The emphasis is ours. Because WOW, y’all.)
With the rising costs of prescription drugs and increased stress on insurance providers to hold down premiums, it is more important than ever for all of us to ask questions. Ask questions about your treatment regimen, get a second opinion, and ask about the cost of your care.
Remember: Doctors and patients need to work together to make treatment decisions that work for a patient. Asking your physician to tell you about all the options for your particular coverage situation is your right. It could affect your ability to manage the financial burden of cancer treatment.