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June 14th, 2010
12:01 AM ET

Cancer survivors skipping medical care

By Trisha Henry
CNN Medical Producer

Cancer survivors are more likely to forgo or delay medical treatment because of health care costs, according to a new study published in the journal Cancer.

Even though it puts their long-term health and well-being at risk, "two million U.S. cancer survivors did not get one or more medical services because of financial concerns,"  says study author Dr. Kathryn Weaver of the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. In general, she says, cancer survivors under the age of 65 were almost twice as likely to delay or forgo all types of care, compared with adults with no cancer history in the same age group.

Hispanic cancer survivors were most likely to skip treatment according to the study.  Hispanic and African American cancer survivors were more likely than whites to leave prescriptions unfilled or to forgo needed dental care.

"It reflects differences in insurance coverage in our country," Weaver says.     "The people over 65 are often covered by Medicare and have more consistent insurance coverage." But she says even people under 65 who had insurance coverage, would sometimes fail to seek treatment when they needed it.

7.8 percent of the cancer survivors in the study say they didn't get the medical care they needed. When researchers also considered prescriptions and dental and mental care, the rate went up to 17.6 percent.

The study involved more than 6,000 adult cancer survivors nine years after diagnosis and 100,000  people with no history of cancer. Participants were asked to self-report if there was a time they needed medical care within the last year when they didn't get it because of cost concerns. The study did not specifically ask what type of care the patients did not get.  "It's hard to say what it was about having cancer led to this," Weaver says. "We have known that cancer can have a negative impact on financial health. There are also employment differences that persist after diagnosis."

Because of their experience, Weaver says,  cancer survivors may have a more heightened sense of health and vulnerability and they might be more aware of symptoms indicating something more serious. She says they may perceive they need more care than the typical person, which may present more opportunities for financial fears to interfere with them getting the care they need.

Information for cancer survivors who may need help with medical expenses can be found here.

CNN Producer Sabriya Rice contributed to this report.

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.


soundoff (198 Responses)
  1. Bob Smith

    Being a survivor of brain cancer, and TB I can relate to the cost issue. However the more you delve into this I find the greedy doctors and thier god complex push patients into unnessary treatment. I had my skull cracked open and surgury done just to find out I could have undergone a gamma-knife procedure instead. Reason I found out was the hospital could enroll me in clinical trial and get paid for it. Doctor first/patient second. I have little or no trust in doctors now and will only seek treatment as a last result.

    June 14, 2010 at 10:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Jody

    I have insurance but I don't get the regular exams like I should. I think it stems from all the medical costs incurred when my husband got sick and died from cancer..and my experience when I was admitted from ER for chest pains. One of the doctors that stopped by to see me ended up costing me almost $500 out of pocket..just for the pleasure of her stopping in 3 times and asking me how I was doing. I assumed she was part of my insurance plan as the hospital was, but she was not. I did not ask for her or need her...but she cost me more than my cardiologist and a heart cath together because she didn't take my insurance.

    Now when I get chest pains I just shut up and go forward. I have a will. I have life insurance. We may have good medical care available here but only to those who can afford it. That won't change because as you see from some of the posters here, many don't believe we need it or deserve it. If you are not smart enough to make enough money to pay big bucks for care, then you don't derserve it....according to 'them' and 'them' are the Tea Partiers and others who believe that human life is not worth the cost of maintaining it, and that it is far more important for people to be free to make as much money as they can for themselves..hang the rest of the loosers out there.

    June 14, 2010 at 10:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Carol

    I am an American living in Canada who was diagnosed with breast cancer last October. I am now finishing my radiation treatment, after having had two surgeries and chemotherapy. It has been exceptional care from doctors and nurses, and even at-home nursing care, and a 3 night hospital stay. No complaints. We haven't paid anything. I walk in, show my health card, get the treatment, and walk out. My concern is only to get better, not a financial one. Actually, the only thing we complain about is the expensive parking fees. That's kind of funny.
    I hope the U.S. can one day offer healthcare for everyone. Sure, your taxes may be a bit higher, but really, it's SO worth it.

    June 14, 2010 at 10:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. john geisler

    After 33 radation treatments 15 chemos 4 years and then 12 hours of surgery losing my voice box ,I have lost my 401k and not being able to miss more than the time sick and vac i had to go back to work to keep ins paying the bills and then being told by ssa that I went back to work I was not quilfied for help Talk about cost and hard ship while your half dead!

    June 14, 2010 at 10:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Patricia

    Over 5 years ago I was diagnosed with a rare stomach cancer that supposedly has a 100% recurrence rate at 5 years. I had surgery and ended up in the ER and hospitalized two more times related to this. Though insured at the time, the bills were more than I could manage, especially being single with a child in the final year of grad school so I paid them all off with credit cards. 2.5 years later I gave up trying to pay off the debt that kept growing and filed Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and make monthly payments over $500. Then was diagnosed with breast cancer 6 months later. A few providers wrote off the balance, others sent me to collections. Have been unemployed now for 15 months. Have never had any follow-up on the breast cancer. Did go to my GI doctor a few times but stopped a few years ago because the MD said without diagnostic tests that would cost me about $5-7,000 (and that's my part with having insurance) he could do nothing more. My cobra expires this month but though I could afford the office visit, I could not pay for testing. A biopsy was recommended for what appeared to be a melanoma but I had to decline because of cost.

    Have had many teeth fall out... others I had to pull as extracting them is much less expensive than repairing,. Apparently bad teeth often go hand in hand with cancer. I experience much abdominal discomfort and have bone pain. Might just be age as I am in my 50s.

    I choose not have any more cancer screening procedures because they usually want the money up front which I do not have, plus, I can't bear getting any more bills that can't be paid. And I can't bear dealing with any more calls from collection agencies. I have no possessions left of value to sell.... no income other than unemployment.... no savings. I think it is interesting that my profession for nearly 15 years was in management in organizations that helped the uninsured obtain screening and treatment for cancer.

    June 14, 2010 at 10:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. whitney

    My husband is a cancer survivor. 20 years! Do not give up. There is hope.
    My best friend's husband is now going through chemo for the 3rd time. He had Crohn's disease, then a tumor in bowel, surgery w/an ileostomy, chemo, radiation and then back to work. Just as they were recovering financially and emotionally, he was diagnosed with mets to the liver. He began his second round of chemo and finished. He went back to work again because he had to help pay off the crushing medical debt. Then, 3 months later he had a mass in his belly. His oncologist at the time told him to go home and die.

    WHO DOES THAT?

    This is a man with 2 young children and a wife. My husband was able to pull a few strings and get him into the Karamanos Hospital here in Michigan. What a difference! The belly tumor is gone and now they are hammering his liver with new chemo. He is battling with all he has. In the mean time they are going bankrupt. The emotional and financial strain is crippling.

    Did I mention his wife and I own a small business in Michigan? Add that enormous strain in this economy to the battle they are already fighting. . . Really, it's all a bit too much. And, quite frankly, this is a story you will hear everywhere across middle class America.

    June 14, 2010 at 10:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. akung

    In the study, was a choice included as reasoning to deny medical care simply not wanting to engage in westernized medicine because they did not want to deal with the adverse event profile? Perhaps they found something else that worked better like CAM? Why does everyone assume it is because of insurance or medical coverage? The study protocol needs to be rewritten to include a choice that says, 'denied medical care because we found CAM better' or 'denied medical care because we don't believe in it'. Medical ethnocentrism is so predominant in our healthcare system that people tend to be always judging medicine instead of healing our patients.

    AlexAndria M. Kung, PhD, MPH

    June 14, 2010 at 10:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. woodie

    Healh Care Insurance only works if you never get sick, and if you do get sick, that you die immediately, in the least cost possible way. That's the basic premise behind health care insurance. So try not to get sick and keep paying those ridiculous premiums.

    June 14, 2010 at 10:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Josie

    I'm a 40 y/o 2 year anal cancer survivor. I have good insurance but refuse additional scans that I, the owner of the body in question, deem as unnecessary exposure to additional risks. Case in point, I had an elevated level of alkaline phosphatase but NO wonky other blood markers. My oncologist pushed for scans of my liver and gall bladder and a full body radioactive tracer bone scan despite my having NO symptoms that would warrant such tests. Instead, I had my GP run a full blood panel and discovered that I have hypothyroidism and a deficiency of Vitamin D–a primary cause of elevate alkaline phosphatase. DOH! Yet I was supposed to have the scans so that *I* could stop worrying about possible mets or recurrence....neither of which I am worried about. It's the unnecessary tests that cause me concern!

    June 14, 2010 at 10:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Donna

    My father had lung cancer and was given 3 weeks to live. In the meantuime, the doctors told him not to return...nothing that they could do for him, BUT they wanted him to continue to go to radiation appointments everyday!!!! Of course it was a couple of grand a day for them even though THEY knew he had no hope. I told them NO and they bucked. Told them where to shove it after my brother and I found him in the changing room confused as to how to remove his own shirt. We cried and realized that we were getting close. He died exactly 3 weeks to the day that they gave him.
    My best friend survived breast cancer... was approved for Medicaid. But they won't remove her port...not included in her plan nor will they fix teeth that fell out (front) from radiation. You have to read everything these days. Know your options and don't allow them to profit.

    June 14, 2010 at 10:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. LizardMom

    As a cancer survivor who lost my job and therefore my healthcare benefits, I did not follow up with my cancer treatment, my other medical or dental healthcare, or any other issues. I collected a wee bit of health insurance, lost my house, put my belongings into storage, and lost whatever esteem I once had. Oh well.

    June 14, 2010 at 10:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Chino

    What I get from this is that the cure many times is worse than the illness. I don't know how many times I have seen a fit person- then they discover they have cancer and 1 year later they have white or no hair, lots of extra wrinkles- and that is if they survive. These survivors who receive little treatment probably changed their diet and exercise and let their bodies do what they were supposed to do. By the way, this is typical that CNN posts another pro Obamacare article when every week another reevaluation of the plan reveals that everything they promised was a lie. They just passed the "doctor fix" a couple of weeks ago, you will lose your coverage from your employer and it is a expensive government take over of health care. At a time when other countries are going bankrupt because of these entitlements -we are following the same policy.

    June 14, 2010 at 10:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Deb

    You have no idea how happy I am to live in Canada. My biggest complaint is the cost of hospital parking.

    June 14, 2010 at 10:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Stephanie

    As a 5 year Ovarian Cancer survivor (and I'm 32) I forgo most of my post screenings. I agree that a CT scan every 6 months and blood tests that are not accurate are unnecessary and extremely expensive.

    As for the survivors knowing when something is more serious, I belive this is true. After going through cancer you are more aware of what hurts and what doesn't feel right on a daily basis. You know if something is normal or if you have never felt a pain before.

    And demonfeed, unless you have gone through cancer you have no idea nor right to even comment on how tuned in to our bodies we become.

    June 14, 2010 at 10:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Wzrd1

    To Gary Palmer, who states emphatically that "no nation can afford to provide medical care to all of its citizens", kindly state your evidence so that I may refute it.
    I suspect you have never left this country, let alone this continent.
    I have been in numerous countries over the years. In the majority of Europe, I'm covered the moment I enter the country. Indeed, Italy actually covers before entry, at the tarmac.
    Most, if not all of the GCC nations provide medical care at a discount for an annual premium of around $36 for Qatar, similar rates in other GCC nations.
    Canada provides a level of care several orders of magnitude greater than the USA. England has a public health system that affords all with basic health care as well.
    But here, in the once great United States of America, we permit our disadvantaged people to choose between their medication and food.
    Where my own father has to figure out HOW he's paying each hospital bill co-payment when he goes into the hospital for his congestive heart failure. He has to wonder if he'll lose his house because if he pays one bill, he can't pay the taxes.
    I'm helping out as best I can, but THIS is the nonsense I supported for 27+ years in uniform?
    A nation is judged by how it treats its populace. To put it mildly, this is an embarrassment. To be more frank, it is a disgrace!

    June 14, 2010 at 10:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Jeff in AZ

    You are all assuming that the medical profesionals know what they are doing. Talk to the many survivors that have taken a naturopathic route. The medical instutitions and incurance companies are bilking you all out of billions of dollars.

    June 14, 2010 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. oncologist

    Cancer is not a single disease and does not affect all people the same. My wife battled ovarian cancer for eight years, but has been in her grave for the past seven years. She is still considered to be a "cancer survivor" because she lasted more than five year. The stats are little consolation to me and my children. This study is superficial and should not be taken seriously.

    June 14, 2010 at 10:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. EJ

    I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the age of 30. After two surgeries and follow up treatment, I am now 5 years in remission and still making payments on my medical bills. As a cancer survivor it is imperative to get follow-up and doctors/clinics are willing to work with you, but you have to ask for help first. The American Cancer Society also has financial aid services to assist. I understand that the cost is exorbitant and insurance covers a small percentage, but I choose that over the anxiety of not knowing what potential threat is lurking undetected underneath my skin. Also, I want to set an example for my son. Take care of yourself, get regular check-ups for the alternative could be fatal.

    June 14, 2010 at 10:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Jody

    I understand why treatment is being skipped. I am a survivor, I am only 24, and I am having a very hard time paying the medical bills. Let alone that I have to do check ups, (MRI and CT) every 3 months.

    How do you make that choice? Your life, or your life? I can not afford all the medical, plus other bills that follow in day to day life.

    June 14, 2010 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Caz Alex

    I'm 63 yr old with prostate cancer living in Florida. Had the prostate removed in 99 at John Hopkins in Baltimore, where I previously resided. The cancer had already spread outside the prostate and I went on hormone treatment (Zoladex) from 2002 to now.
    OK....HERE IS THE PROBLEM: While living in MD, I had Blue Cross/Shield of Maryland (BCS) which was billed $674. for the Zoladex shot by Hopkins and I paid $99.44. In Florida the same shot given by Moffitt Cancer Center charged BCS of FL.$6,537 of which they paid $3,399.24 and I had to pay $509.88 !!! I'm someone with insurance. Who without can afford this ??? In Florida there is NO governance of what medical facilities can charge. Are they charging MEDICARE those rates dear tax payers ??

    June 14, 2010 at 10:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Rich Gomez

    I love it. When you guy's (cnn tv reporters) will discuss this issue on tv and tell folks "To find out more info (i.e., where to go for help) go to a link on the cnn web site.... what if they can't afford the internet or don't have a computer..... where do they go find this info...... Go Crazy? You folks are amazing......

    June 14, 2010 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Squeezebox

    To die or not to die, that's the question. I don't make a whole lot of money, have practically nothing saved, and have a family history of cancer. If it happened to me, should I even bother with treatment, or just ask to be made comfortable so I don't bankrupt my family as I die?

    June 14, 2010 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Chris

    I just saw the piece on TV about the woman who shot herself in the shoulder because she couldnt afford healthcare. Of course, she could afford cigarettes to smoke during the interview.

    Letrs see if I have it right. She can spend her money on smokes, but the taxpayer has to provide her healthcare. If you'd rather spend $6 a pack on cigarettes instead of a healthcare policy, then that's the sad position you have put yourself in. Too bad.

    MY SOLUTION:
    Pack-a-day habit = $150 per month.
    Spend that $150 on a healthcare policy.
    It doesn't take a NASA engineer to figure this one out!

    June 14, 2010 at 10:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Gabriel

    Want to lower cost of health care...? make medical school education free of charge and widely available. Keep a standard. Many countries do it.

    June 14, 2010 at 10:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Julia

    @Gary,
    I currently reside in France and you are mistaken, we have full coverage for all procedures, at all times. If I want optional surgery, I will have to pay a portion of the fees, and I may have to wait, but if I had cancer, I would be well taken care of and would never be asked to open my wallet for anything more than my identity card.
    Am now in NC with my son, who has cancer and is being treated very well at Duke Medical – but I haven't had a moment's rest when it comes to the bills and his 20% share.
    Wake up, I pay taxes in two countries and more than most in the US – medical care can cover everyone – look at our representatives in the Capital – they are ALL covered at 100%, at all times, for the rest of their lives ... how are we managing that?

    June 14, 2010 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. michele

    I'm a colon cancer suvior of 4 years.i had stage one and had half my colon removed.when i went for a colon scope a year later they found more pollots.thank god they had not return canceris yet.I am self employed and cant afford medical health coverage.I trying applying for medicad in Tenn.I was told since it wasnt breast cancer they wouldnt let me get state insurance.That if i had a small kid at home is the only way i could gert assistance.How can u say one cancer is worse then another???????

    June 14, 2010 at 10:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Jackie

    This is in response to John's message...it is a basic right to have a pet in my belief...smoking on the other is a choice...Medical Care should be provided for everyone...me I am Canadian....why can't the United States impliment basic health care for their citizens like we have??

    June 14, 2010 at 10:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. FingersCrossed

    most survivors are keeping there fingers crossed that it just doesn't return...the mental stress is enough to worry with – but financially you just can't do all of the treatments and/or scans that the Doctors tell you that you need. You do need them – but your debt is too high to get them...just speaking from someone with insurance – not government help. Don't even think you would do this or that until you sit in a Doctor's office and you are told you have cancer – then you are told by an insurance clerk what you rinsurance will pay for...then try to decide how much money you have in order to save your life.

    June 14, 2010 at 10:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Rostandfl

    How do the Brits do it? Just saw a program where an 800 pound man, for YEARS, received ALL the care he needed at home, including personal care of 4 baths a day and skin care by TWO assistants and meals, they created special equipment to transport him to a hospital miles away-even discussed a helicopter!-made a special scale for him, ordered a custom bed for him, trained hospital employees in transfer safety, AND performed his bariatric surgery with all the follow-up care he needs! He appeared to have NO income at all! How are they doing it? COPY THE U.K. TO SAVE LIVES! Paperwork is holding up cancer treatment for a dear friend who is waiting for help and it breaks my heart to think how many are like her.

    June 14, 2010 at 11:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Sara

    Our health care reform bill just put a band-aid on the health care problems in this country. We need money for the oil spill, the war, etc. but let us limit the amount spent on health care. These are important issues but we have made them more important causes for money to be spent than people who are facing life or death. For example, do you want to take a stand and say: "Spend my tax dollars on the war but let almost 20% of Americans go without needed medical treatment and face certain death?" Denying any medical treatment leads to an earlier death (no dental care can lead to heart disease can lead to an earlier death for example).
    For the comment about the woman shooting herself having money for cigarettes and pets, the money spent on these two items would pay for very, very, very little medical care and would not pay for any good insurance. Shame on the person who made this comment.

    June 14, 2010 at 11:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. ART

    I sympathize with these people. I do have a question though. If many of these people die as a result of skipping prescribed treatment, will their doctors get the blame? I ask this because as a retired teacher, I am tired of teachers getting blamed for students' poor achievement when those students never do their homework, classwork, come with a notebook and pencil or even come to school at all.

    June 14, 2010 at 11:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Erin C.

    This is so tragic and true. People complained that a public option for Health Care was going to lead to rationing. WHAT DO YOU THINK IT'S CALLED WHEN PEOPLE FORGO CARE BECAUSE THEY CANNOT AFFORD IT?

    June 14, 2010 at 11:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Lisa

    My husband and I have dental insurance. Like the majority of policies, the amount of coverage is capped at $1500. I'm facing over $8000 of needed dental surgery. Why are our teeth and gums not covered by health insurance? Are they not part of our bodies?
    I recently made inquiries to see if we could get better dental coverage only to find out that the $1500. is the industry standard. One insurance representative said, "insurance companies can't make money on dental insurance".
    We agree with GL, Health Care Reform with out the Public Option is NOT REFORM!
    BTW my in-laws in England cannot believe the #1 reason for bankruptcy in the USA is the inability to pay for medical bills. Shame on us! We need health insurance company reform.
    My late father was a physician in New York City. He worked in the Washington Height area of upper Manhattan. For those of you unfamiliar with the area, during the 70"s and 80"s it was a drug infested crime ridden neighborhood. He worked providing heath care to anyone who was in need regardless of their ability to pay. He steered me away from pursuing a medical degree because he knew that medicine had become a business. He was an advocate of socialized medicine. It gives us all the ability to have good health care.
    For all the yelling and screaming about socialism, what is Social Security? Medicare?
    Isn't about time that the USA catch up with the industrialize nations that provide health care to their citizens?
    As long the health insurance companies continue to operate as for profit companies we all will remain the sacrificial lambs.

    June 14, 2010 at 11:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Ray

    I've survived 5 cancers (melanoma, 3 lung, a sarcoma), and I'm now fighting a 4th lung cancer. I have felt very lucky to have medical coverage from the workplace, especially after seeing the cost of chemo therapy "cocktails".

    If you have medical insurance coverage, please don't be afraid to use it. You may even become friendly with your oncologist. I know over the 14 years I've been going through this, I have.

    14 years of tests, xrays, CT scans, PET scans, MRI's, etc, sounds like a lot, but the medical insurance lets me do this and lets the doctors help me to survive a little longer.

    June 14, 2010 at 11:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Karma is a....

    You people didn't want the public option. Reap what you sow.

    June 14, 2010 at 11:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. hoolianama05

    I am a double cancer survivor, diagnosed with Hodgkins's Lymphoma in 1988 and Breast Cancer in 2009. I can tell you for certain that the worst feeling besides the diagnosis is worrying about your finances while undergoing chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. Even after our treatments are completed, I should not have to worry about simply seeing the oncologist for followup. I believe followup visits are equally important for the patient.

    June 14, 2010 at 11:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Ella

    How does Britain do it? Easy. Their payroll tax (not the income tax, but the equivalent of our Medicare and Social Security tax) is 10% higher than ours, meaning that nearly 25% of every person's income goes to insurance. They then pay income tax on top of that. I personally am in favor of MUCH higher taxes if it means that everyone regardless of status can get the health care they need (and erase medical costs and insurance from household budgets). Why wouldn't we enable that? Because we got Trouble, which starts with Tea.

    June 14, 2010 at 11:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Robert

    I am dismayed to see all those who claim that they cannot get treatment because of loss of insurance due to their job loss or on medicare (can't afford it). In California, anyone at anytime – legal or illegal.....can get medical treatment for cancer or any other disease treatment. Free if necessary! Where do you people live? It is Federal Law. Perhaps ya all need to get better informed as to your options – the alternative is to do nothing. Everyone can get medical treatment – everyone! Get informed – find out what is available in your area. Go for it!

    June 14, 2010 at 11:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Josie

    I neglected to state earlier that I know my death is inevitable, whether at 40 or 90, I'm going to die someday. I firmly believe that my need for quality life outweighs my desire for quantity. I refuse to spend my days fighting for a few more precious minutes of life...in a medical center? No thanks. I'd much rather spend my remaining time with my family, friends and loyal pets, doing what I love rather than submitting to painful treatments I hate.

    June 14, 2010 at 11:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Martha H

    I have recently been diagnosed with stage IV Kidney cancer, and I am so gosh darn frightened each and every moment for my children. I only have HMO coverage, and fell that if I elect to go with a PPO that perhaps I have a greater chance of survival because I would have more options. However I will never be able to afford the continuous medical bills that a cancer patient must constantly worry about (which does not help the healing process) with the PPO plan. I believe they only cover a percentage. So either way I look at it I am doomed. I am thankful that I am here today, but as a mother I must look into the future and I am unable to save any money for my childrens education because mommy has about 6 prescriptions she must fill each month on top of office visits and routine lab and CT scans. How can one heal when the worry of money and medical bills consumes me.

    June 14, 2010 at 11:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Martha H

    Oh, it is very comforting to hear of all the cancer survivor posts. I too pray that I can comeback and give my survivor testimony one day very soon.

    God Bless you all, and God Bless America

    June 14, 2010 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. BeckFastPaws

    This hits home for me as well. My husband is a survivor of stage-4 cancer. He had volunteered to be a human test for some new chemo 10 years ago. Because he survived it, though, under the previous health care rules, he was uninsurable. So getting regular checkups wasn't possible until he met me.

    If it weren't for the fact that my insurance didn't have a preexisting clause, he'd be gone by now.

    June 14, 2010 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Steve

    I've pretty much conceded as fact that someday I will have to fork over my life's savings to a hospital for some kind of serious medical procedure. We currently have an HSA plan with $6K deductible. These plans were created with the intention of having market forces lower the costs of health care. But has anyone actually tried "shopping" medical procedures? We called our physician to get a quote to have tubes placed in our daughter's ears b/c of her frequent ear infections. It took about 3 phone calls to get anything resembling a straight answer, which was about $500-$700 dollars. His charge ended up being twice that, and then we were billed by the anesthesiologist and the surgery center. All told we were billed roughly $15,000....to have tubes placed in a little girl's ears so she could hear.

    June 14, 2010 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Joe

    As a cancer survivor, I have chosen not to participate in some follow-up treatment advised by my doctor. Why? I don't need it. I think a lot of tests and therapy sessions are unnecessary and just another way to generate billing. As someone recently enmeshed in the healthcare system I can tell you this – it's broken. The care I received was impersonal, incompetent and a far cry from compassionate. I have never felt less human than when I was sick. Shame on all the healthcare system profiteers who prey on sick folks. Our healthcare system is in the same shape as the airlines, the environment and the auto industry. It's not cancer that pains me now, it's greed.

    June 14, 2010 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Sarah

    The problem is not only health insurance but taking the time off work to get the treatment, rest and heal. Since we American's are living paycheck to paycheck, FMLA, does nothing to pay the bills while you are getting medical care, insurance or not.
    It is the lifestyle America has chosen to have more that the Smith's next door at the true root of the problem.
    No one wants to have the same health insurance as the Wal Mart worker if they are a "professional" . America has raised it children to feel "entitled" ........I work harder than you, had more school than you so I deserve more than you............that my friend is the American way

    June 14, 2010 at 12:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. mrlgh

    As a Canadian, I find the comments here very heart breaking. I find your system of Healthcare really makes it difficult to keep one's dignity when they are sick. Furthermore, it seems people are dying for no reason in many cases. America needs to wake up....it's not all about profits....it's about life!

    June 14, 2010 at 12:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Syphon Filter

    Very sad to see how bad it is for people to live like this. But here is the real truth that is happening here in America. America is the only country where profits and protecting big business is ahead of the basic element of life and that is having proper health care. It's a crying shame that poorer countries have better health care. Also here in America, the Halth Care Providers are so imbedded with the American politicians that it has become increasingly difficult to lower health care costs. The bottom line is that your health is everything. and without it, your life has no meaning. Although the health Care Reform bill won't come into affect till 2013, I am glad and proud that our President Obama endured the people who were opposed to it, as well as knowing it is the right thing to do. And I give a lot of praise to G.W. Bush's Daughter Barbara for the work she does in helping those in need when it comes to health care, but also praising Obama's Health Care Reform Bill. Best of luck to everyone, and I will always pray that every single American can get Health care, because it is everyones right to live long, healthy and prosperous.

    June 14, 2010 at 12:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Beverlee Rice

    At age 62 I had breast cancer and a radical mastectomy. All my pre and post op care was paid for by the state of California breast cancer fund. After surgery I was prescribed Tamoxifen for 5 years. Still had no insurance so was on a program for free meds from Astro Zeneca. After 18 months I stopped taking the Tamoxifen because of the hoops I had to go through every month...tons of paperwork, anwering questions over and over.
    It's been 10 years and I am still cancer-free so I guess it didn't hurt to skip the remainder of the meds.

    June 14, 2010 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. 1st Peter 2:24

    The largest medical research study regarding nutrition and it's effect
    on diseases was conducted by Dr. Campbell PHD from Cornell
    University. The book is called " The China Study". It really helped
    regarding changes that I made to my diet. I have lost 50 lbs and all
    of my test results, show no cancer. I thank God everyday for my
    healing.

    June 14, 2010 at 12:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. evoc

    And, Medicare premiums for doctor visits are $110. per mo. Taking that from a $700. mo Social Security check, leaves no room for follow up. It must be the process of survival of the fittest.

    June 14, 2010 at 12:27 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.