Wednesday, May 31, 2006

An Unwanted Journey: Day 0189 - Cost of Chemotherapy

A good friend has been corresponding with me recently about the costs of cancer therapy (to be fair, he was more interested in whether I should ask the oncologists at the cancer centre about some of the newer drug therapies available). I haven't paid much attention to costs of my treatment yet. Suffice to say, OHIP pays for most of the procedures, hospitalization, etc. It doesn't pay for oxaliplatin, but a federal program has agreed to pay 100% of those costs for my treatment.

But since his email I have read a few abstracts about oxaliplatin treatment costs in the United States and Great Britain. One USA Today article (the one my friend forwarded to my attention) compares 8-week treatment costs for some of the standard and newer drug therapies:

5-FU(fluorouracil and leucovorin): $63 USD
Irinotecan: $9,497 USD
Oxaliplatin (with fluorouracil and leucovorin): $11,889 USD
Bevacizumab: (with fluorouracil, leucovorin and irinotecan): $ $21,399 USD
Cetuximab (with irinotecan): $30,790 USD

Sometime soon, I'll collate some of the costs just for my personal interest, costs like 28 days in hospital, the low anterior resection, radiation treatment, CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, lung scans, etc. Without even doing the research, it's quite obvious to me that I have become very expensive to the people of Ontario in the past few months. Don't get me wrong; I'm worth it, but it is humbling nonetheless to realize what the treatments are worth.

This week, I've had an additional CAT scan at the hospital, met with the surgeon for a followup consultation, and I will be meeting with an occupational therapist tomorrow. It's turning out to be a good week.

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1 comment:

Deborah said...

Dear Bloggers:

You have probably received this message a month ago, but we still need your help. Can you help us with our cancer blog survey? We are posting the original message again. Can you encourage visitors to complete the survey and make the survey link visible on your homepage? You are also welcome to participate in our study. For those of you who have already participated, we deeply appreciate your help. Thanks in advance!

This is a message to those of you who maintain/read/participate in blogs related to cancer. Might we request your assistance in an academic study about cancer blog usage?

My name is Deborah Chung, and I am an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications. My research focuses on the use of new communication technologies and their potential to empower information consumers. Currently, I am interested in examining how health information seekers, particularly cancer patients and their families/friends, adopt blogs.

I am teaming up with Dr. Sujin Kim, also at UK, who is an assistant professor in the School of Library and Information Science and has a sub-specialization in medical informatics. She has been working closely with the UK Cancer Center to build a biorepository information system (UK-BIS) for lung and ovarian cancer samples. Together, we would like to learn about how new information channels, such as blogs, are being used by cancer patients and their families/friends — specifically we are interested in their motivations, uses and consequences of using blogs.

As approved by our internal review board (IRB) at UK, this study is an anonymous survey that does not carry any risks to cancer patients. At the same time, we believe the information gathered from this study will greatly contribute to our understanding of the adoption of new communication technologies by cancer patients. This information will in turn assist in supporting the needs of cancer patients for future information technology and service development.

Thus, we would appreciate your participation in our survey. You can find the survey here. You might get a notice regarding the validity of the certificate. If that happens, please continue to proceed. If for some reason you cannot access the site, please try pasting the following address into your browser:

We appreciate your time, and thank you in advance for your help.


Deborah S. Chung, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
School of Journalism & Telecommunications
University of Kentucky

Sujin Kim, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
School of Library & Information Science
University of Kentucky