After the death of Kelly Preston from breast cancer, a reminder of the financial results of the disease
The death of actress Kelly Preston at the age of 57 from breast cancer is a reminder that this common cancer takes many lives too soon and, sadly, getting treatment can be a financial barrier for many.
Preston was known for roles in films such as “Jerry Maguire” and “Twins” from 1988. She was married to actor John Travolta and died after living with the disease for two years. The couple had two children, Ella Bleu and Benjamin, as well as a son, Jett, who died at the age of 16 in 2009, the Associated Press reported.
“I have never met someone as brave, strong, beautiful and loving as you,” Ella Travolta wrote in tribute to her mother on Instagram FB,
Preston is one of some 42,170 women in the United States who will die of breast cancer this year, according to the American Cancer Society. The disease is the most common type of cancer in American women after skin cancer, and the second leading cause of cancer death after lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.
Travolta thanked doctors and nurses at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas in an Instagram post announcing the death of Preston. MD Anderson is one of 51 comprehensive cancer centers nationwide.
“Although we have made significant progress in the successful treatment of breast cancer, approximately 20% of patients will develop distant metastatic disease,” said William G. Cance, medical and scientific director of the American Cancer Society. “Kelly Preston’s death underscores our need for better treatment for metastatic breast cancer.”
Unfortunately, this treatment can be expensive, even for patients with strong health insurance. About one in four cancer patients have to borrow money, go into debt or file for bankruptcy to pay for their treatment, according to a 2019 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
“Cancer and its treatment are associated with many costs to patients and their families, including out-of-pocket costs for medical care and loss of earnings due to time off work for patients and caregivers,” said Robin Yabroff, senior scientific director of health services research at the American Cancer Society. “These costs can lead to financial stress, medical debt and asset depletion for patients and their families. “
The annualized medical costs associated with breast cancer are approximately $ 34,000 in the first year after diagnosis, Yabroff said. Nationally, about $ 25.8 billion was spent on medical care for breast cancer patients in 2015. “This estimate does not include costs associated with lost productivity, which may be substantial, ”she added.
Due to the complexity of the disease, it is difficult to give an exact figure for the average cost of treating breast cancer, said Amanda DeBard, spokesperson for the organization Susan G. Komen, a nonprofit organization. which raises funds for breast cancer research and provides financial assistance to patients. “Some patients may only need surgery, while others may require intensive treatment that can exceed $ 10,000 per month,” DeBard told MarketWatch.
Data from the National Cancer Institute revealed that the average cost to female patients in 2015 was $ 23,078 for initial treatment and $ 2,207 for continued treatment, USA Today reported. Even the patients themselves sometimes have trouble getting information on the costs of various surgeries.
There are also “hidden costs” in addition to medical costs, including gasoline for appointments and appointments, childcare costs for patients who are parents, and hospital stays. hotel for patients who have to travel far for treatment, DeBard added. Komen operates a helpline that patients can call for support and information on financial aid.
Patients with metastatic breast cancer and low-income patients often experience “financial toxicity”, which means heavy financial burdens for treatment, a 2019 study suggested.
Financial hardship for women of color may be worse: Black women diagnosed with breast cancer experience significantly more financial pressure than white women, and this may play a role in the higher death rate for women black breast cancer, according to a 2018 study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found.
Some patients use credit cards or retirement savings to fund their treatment, and 41% said they skipped any treatment or medication to save money, according to a 2018 survey by The Pink Fund, a nonprofit that helps breast cancer patients pay for their treatment.
Worse yet, testing can also be prohibitive. While the Affordable Care Act provides for free mammograms for women 40 and older every one or two years, some patients end up with surprise mammogram bills. after their doctors sent them for further testing. And the national median cost of an uninsured mammogram was $ 243 in 2016.
Celebrity cancer deaths attract public attention, and they can be times to learn more about the disease, noted Molly MacDonald, founder and CEO of The Pink Fund.
“Every day 1,400 women die from breast cancer,” McDonald told MarketWatch, referring to global statistics. “We were very sorry to learn of the death of Kelly Preston. It may be important for other women to better understand her illness. [BRCA] uncomfortable? At what stage was she diagnosed? Is there anything we can learn about her condition that may encourage women to get a DNA profile, have monthly breast exams, and have an annual mammogram? “