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Study Shows Drug Costs Create Additional Struggle for Mesothelioma Patients

A new study just published in the journal Cancer is pointing to the rising costs of cancer drugs – including those used to treat malignant mesothelioma – as one of the biggest challenges faced by cancer patients today. Though the costs are extremely high for all cancer patients, they are creating particular difficulties for those who are under the age of 65 and who are not yet eligible for Medicare, as well as for those who are dealing with multiple conditions, as is frequently the case for mesothelioma patients.

Though most people diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma are older, and therefore can access Medicare insurance provided by the government, they are also less likely to be working and therefore have less access to extra income. Their conditions are also frequently complicated by other health conditions, including diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease.  The study cites cancer medications costing as much as $100,000 per year for each patient. Combining these astronomical costs with the additional burden of higher insurance deductibles and copayments for clinic visits, diagnostic tests and hospital stays means that cancer patients are frequently considering stopping their treatment for financial reasons. Contributing to the problem is the fact that prescribing physicians often have no idea what the costs of the medications or treatments are.

According to the researchers behind the study, in the last few years cancer patients have become far more likely to request changes to their prescription regimen or health protocol based specifically on their financial situation, to a degree far greater than that of people not diagnosed with cancer. According to Dr. Daniel Goldstein, an oncologist, “Both patients and physicians should feel comfortable to discuss both the cost and efficacy of their medical care. Physicians need to be honest with patients about the potential clinical benefit of the drugs that they are receiving, particularly when there is a high financial burden. If the cost of drugs prescribed by your physician creates a barrier to taking them, or will result in major financial burdens, it is important to speak with your physician.”

In addition to speaking to your physician, you can get help in dealing with the high costs of mesothelioma treatment from the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net. Contact us today through our website, www.mesothelioma.net, or call us at 1-800-692-8608 to learn more about how we can help.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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