Paula's Health Notes: The High Cost of Breast Cancer - 8 News NOW

Paula's Health Notes: The High Cost of Breast Cancer

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The recession has meant more people are losing their jobs, and with it, their health insurance. Sadly, breast cancer is unaffected by your insurance status.

The best treatments may cure you of cancer, but the cost can be enormous, even with insurance. Dr Regan Holdridge, a Las Vegas oncologist, hears it from more and more patients these days.  "Medical care in general is expensive but cancer care is very expensive and the co pays and deductibles and those fees are really prohibitive for people sometimes."

Every breast cancer patient is different, and so are the individual modalities.  Treatments very widely, and so do costs.   Surgery can run thirty to fifty- thousand dollars. A series of chemotherapy sessions runs sixty to eighty thousand.. and radiation, between five and ten thousand.

I asked Dr. Holdridge if she had ever seen a patient simply stop coming for treatment, because of the expense, and she shook her regretfully and said,  "yes.. It happens and it's really sad."

Dr Holdridge and her partners encourage patients to speak up if there's a financial issue. The doctors have staff who can navigate the maze of medical red tape.   Sometimes, a drug company will lower prices.. And sometimes patients can save money by enrolling in clinical trials. Dr Holdridge says she is very conscious of the cost of treatment when she prescribes any regimen. "As responsible physicians, we have to think about the cost of our care.  For example, when two equivalent treatments exist, then choosing the less expensive is the right thing to do." 

   Dr Holdridge and her fellow oncologists at Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada have just been honored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology for their active and ongoing participation in national trials.

   To learn more about breast cancer, and local resources,  check out the Buddy Check 8 section of this website. There's also a link to our sponsor, the Southern Nevada Chapter of Susan G. Komen for the cure.

  Until next time, remember, your health is in your own hands!

Paula Francis
KLAS-TV 
Las Vegas NV

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