Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Make Critical Anti-Cancer Treatments Accessible, Affordable

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Make Critical Anti-Cancer Treatments Accessible, Affordable

Article excerpt

You'd probably be surprised to hear someone living with cancer say they consider themselves lucky. But, that is how I feel. For one, just a few years ago, that statement, "living with cancer" wasn't something you heard very often. But, it's more than just luck that is keeping me and thousands of other patients' cancer at bay; it's science. It's access to breakthrough medications that have changed the ways we each treat our individual diseases. I'm also lucky that I've had affordable access to these life-saving medications, but that's not the case for everyone.

That's why I'm supporting legislation pending in Congress that will build on recent state efforts help to make these critical anti-cancer treatments accessible and affordable to more Americans.

I've been battling my cancer for five years. It came on suddenly and unexpectedly. I thought I had the flu, and the next thing I knew I was in acute renal failure, and soon after diagnosed with multiple myeloma.

After an aggressive treatment plan of steroids, chemotherapy shots, IV chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant in 2013, my cancer is now in remission. To keep it from recurring, I will be on maintenance chemotherapy for the rest of my life.

Originally this meant a shot taken every two weeks that required travel to the clinic, time and the discomfort of the injection. Since 2016, I have been able to take an oral version of this medicine a tablet once every two weeks rather than shots in the belly. This I can take at home with no other medical professional intervention.

My family has been lucky that we've had good insurance coverage through my husband's job over the years. But many cancer patients aren't so fortunate. That's because unlike my plan, many plans regulated at the federal level have lagged behind, inflicting greater cost-sharing requirements on patients who are being treated with oral anti-cancer treatments than they do those who are being treated with tradition IV chemotherapy. The result? Many patients prescribed oral medications by their oncologists are faced with a decision to pay for their care, or pay for the rest of life's necessities.

Cancer patients, physicians and oncologists and our advocates have been working hard to change that. …

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