Spotlight On Cancer Treatment Costs

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Several medical advancements continue to help save lives but are they affordable? Health experts say 15-percent of all new cancer cases are for breast cancer, which can cost victims a lot for treatment. 

Fox 25/48’s Zach Prelutsky tells us why treatment for the disease can be so expensive.

It is hard to find someone around the world who has not been touched by cancer in one way or another. Each year, billions of dollars is spent on research trying to come up with new treatments.

Holmen Festival Foods has been donating money to Gundersen for breast cancer research for multiple years now and donated more than $2,000 earlier Wednesday.

“The breast cancer foundation here is very prominent within the community. So in order to be a part of that, that’s where that idea came from and that’s really where it stemmed from in 2011.”

But for the more than 250,000 women who are estimated to be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017, billions of dollars are spent by them and their insurance companies to pay for the treatments.

While the 5-year survival rate has increased every period since 1980, the disease can have a financial impact on top of the health impact. A 2016 American health drug benefit study showed the average first year medical costs for patients with breast cancer is 85 thousand dollars and change.

“You know the newer agents are usually what we call small molecule inhibitors of kinases that take cost a lot of money to develop or else biologics, which are usually antibodies and these are difficult materials to produce. It takes a lot of time to do the research and for the drug companies to get these across the line for FDA approval.”

The hope is that the continued research will eventually lead better and more cost effective treatment.

“When we can very finely define and carefully define the specific type of tumor affecting the women then we’ve got a much better chance of giving her a better more fine-tuned therapy, which is much more likely to benefit her.”

Kenny and his team are excited about their work currently in cancer genomics and what it could mean to cancer patients throughout the world.

In La Crosse, Zach Prelutsky, Fox 25/48 News at Nine.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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