My step son has just been diagnosed with probable stage 4 colorectal cancer.
He is uninsured. He was unemployed for three years after being downsized. He just got a part time job a two months ago. He makes so little that he qualifies for the county hospital financial program. He and his mother worry that the county hospital may not be the best available.
How much does medical treatment for colorectal cancer cost? We can empty our life savings if it would be enough, but don't know what the cost will be.
Does anyone have any figures? Does anyone have experience with a large metropolitan county hospital for cancer?
Jake Im so sorry your having these finacial problems an top of the diagnosis.
I really dont know anything about these things I know its extremely costly and dont know if maybe you can get some help through the American cancer society- they may be able to refer places you can call for some kind of assistence.
April06- Emergencysurgery,exploratory,10units blood,largetumor and 10inches of colon removed,temp.colostomy.diagnosed stage IV colon.
Oct06-radiation,surgery,several lymphs,cervix,1 ovary,fallopian,40% remaining colon,large tumor to adipose tissue,appendix,gallbladder removed.permant colostomy/iliostomy
surgery-1/3liver,partial diaphra, removed clipped and questionable spots oblated.
port-port rejection-port removed 1week.
Oct-08-surgery-remaining ovary engulfed in tumor,partial bone scrape.
transfusion central line TPN 1 month.
oct-09-surgery tumor ,colon and jejuneum removed.
xeloda reduced. severe dehydration,heart attack.
mar-11 return to original site-oxyplatin,5fu
dec-30-back to chemo erbitux camtosar
Jan-16 injections neulasta and aranesp
feb 21-Tumor found stomach,liver, and liver "hot spots" inflamed lymph in rt ureter in kidney causing obstruction-surgery schedualed Mar 16.
march 16/12-no more kidney obstruction not lymph ...dehydration is causing blockage, two litters blood for anemia, stomach liver tumor small-med,abalation, 1 hidden tumor deep in muscle mass on side flank(hid from scans) -gone!
starting a regimine of celebrex
aug/30-12 discontinued celebrex -failure one kidney. needed to see urologist
sept/10-12-good urologist report one kidney functioning well for now.
oct/23/12-chemo pill Stivarga(regorafenib)
dec/18/12-blood transfusion chemo pill dosage cut back to 1 pill.
Feb/21/13 neulasta injection
Feb/22/13-blood transfusion. still taking stivarga.
mar/20/13-arenespt injection rehydration and magnesium IV
mar/21/13-acute renal failure-kidney infection
april/1/13.-recovery from 4 day coma infection cleared/4 units blood/ off stivarga/starting rehab therapy,
swollen hand no apparent reason black spots in vision off and on. both cleared up.
may/22/13-home oxycodone for pain shoulder neck arm
june/1/13 pain subsided off oxy onto aleve
june/09/13-pain back off aleve on vicodin
june 10/13-cancer in back/neck- starting radiation for arm neck and shoulder pain.
june24/13-last day of radiation-on steroids
july1/13-swollen legs and feet-lasix off steroids still on vicodin and xanax
july 23/13 vicodin cut in half blood transfusion.
sept/6/13-off all pain meds since late aug
scan results fracture in spine mid back
sept/12/13-spine healing on its own,weaning off steroids, no visible tumors.
nov/7/13-edema both legs and one arm on lasix since oct.
nov/21/13- leg edema subsiding still alot in one arm- she is talking but keeps her eyes closed. achy but no major pain. nurse and aide to visit once a week schedualed. having trouble standing.
nov/24/13-sadly but peacefully moms cancer journey is at an end, she will start her new spiritual journey together hand in hand with dad.
I wouldn't automatically assume that the large county hospital is a bad place to get treatment. Large teaching hospitals can be good places to find doctors with a lot of expertise. If you Google the hospital they'll probably give some information on specialty care they give there, and what they're known to be good at.
I would suggest you look into getting him insurance. Many states have high-risk insurance pools for people who can't get private insurance, and under the new health care law all states should be starting to provide insurance policies he can get now. There's a web page here where you can look up your state's status: http://www.healthinsurance.org/risk_pools/
If he gets insured, then he should be able to get care almost anywhere. It's expensive - I pay about $9,000 per year in premiums plus $2,000 for deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses in my state's high-risk pool, but after that it pays for everything. My high-risk insurance was approved within weeks and my coverage started very quickly. If he can only get a policy that requires co-pays, see if you can get a second policy to cover the co-pays. Chemotherapy treatments can cost thousands of dollars each, and a 20% co-pay on that amount can eat you alive. My high-risk insurance was approved within weeks and my coverage started very quickly.
When he's diagnosed, he can apply for Social Security Disability payments. If he qualifies for that, I think after two years he would automatically qualify for Medicare.
I stopped tracking the total cost of my illness when it hit around $250,000. That was in the first year. If you possibly can, get insurance.
Diagnosed with stage 2c papillary serous cystadenoma borderline malignancy of the ovary in 2009. Hysterectomy, omenectomy, appendectomy, debulking. 2010 - laparoscopy showed inoperable recurrence, so started chemo. Frontline chemo - carboplatin and cyclophosphamide, six cycles; Avastin - ten cycles; Weekly Topotecan - 4 cycles. Spring 2012 developed pleural nodules. Topotecan plus Avstin - 1year.
Two other thoughts: Your community hospital may have a free cancer care fund. I know mine does, and I live in a fairly small town. (Wish I would have known that back when I was uninsured and avoiding checkups.) Also, there may be clinical trials available that you can get to. The official government clinical trials database is easy to find online since I'm too new to post a link to it. Do check out the health care law info though. There is some kind of pre-existing condition health insurance coverage mandate in it for sure.
Has your son looked into Medicaid? He might qualify for that although I'm not sure about the exact benefits and where he would be treated. I would also check with the state health department or family services as there might be some type of plan like short term health insurance that he could qualify for if he doesn't qualify for Medicaid.
Last edited by TammyK; 04-15-2012 at 04:07 PM.
Tammy - mother was recently diagnosed with breast cancer
I'm sorry to hear your son is going through all of this. My Mom was working when she was diagnosed but she worked at a convience store and made very little. She went to the cancer treatment center in our area and they have social workers there who can help you find funding. (It's in their best interest to find the money so you can spend it there.) Trust me, they will help you however they can.