Proton Therapy

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peeweeaz
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 27
   Posted 4/5/2007 9:32 AM (GMT -7)   
After spending some time pouring over the Proton Treatment Facility at Loma Linda, CA, it appears that Proton Therapy for all types of malignancies is the wave of the future. However, it also appears to be the gold standard/Cadillac of treatments. After reviewing the extensive preperation, i.e., body molding, template casts, etc., the procedure is probably very expensive. Although qualified Medicare patients can recoup some out-of-pocket expenses and some private health insurers will cover some of the costs on a case-by-case basis, I suspect this kind of treatment will be financially out of reach for some people. As some one else on this forum once said, "it's quality of life not quantity." If you're 50 to a 100 grand in debt and have to spend the rest of your remaining time on earth paying off your medical expenses while you watch the grass grow, where's the quality? I don't mean to sound cynical, but it is what it is. Having said all that, would anyone who has had Proton Therapy be willing to share some costs with us?
 
Bob

pcdave
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 444
   Posted 4/5/2007 2:31 PM (GMT -7)   
hi bob

you are certainly correct about proton therapy. it is also a wave of the present. it is a wonderful treatment not only for PC but for many other types of cancer. where I am being treated, i see many beautiful innocent young kids each day being treated with proton therapy for brain and other types of cancers. it has had a deep emotion impact on me, but hopefully it will cure their cancer.

as far as medicare is concerned, it is paying 80% of my proton treatments and my supplemental insurance is paying the remaining 20%. i don't know the total cost, but i assume that it is at least $40,000-$50,000 or more from what i have read. it is one of the most expensive treatments for PC, but medicare has endorsed it. yes, i have read that some private health insurers will not cover proton therapy or give their patients a very hard time because less costly radiation treatments are available. often patients try to fight their insurers and i believe that some win--but the battle takes a lot of stressful energy. IMRT and IGRT x-ray radiation are much less costly and some insurers feel that this form of treatment is as good as proton therapy. nevertheless, proton radiation is considered safer because it has less potential of damaging good tissue surrounding the target area.  x-ray radiation has been getting more sophisticated in recent years, but there are no definitive studies yet that i am aware of, to prove one way or the other, that x-ray and proton radiation are comparable in terms of success and potential side effects. my radiation oncologist told me recently that medicare wants longer-term studies made to determine this, which makes a lot of sense. in the meantime, i decided to have proton treatments instead of x-ray treatments. all the best to you.

dave


68, Biopsy 9/27/06, Stage T1c, PSA 7.1, Gleason 6 [less than 5% in two areas], Gleason 7 (3+4) [less than 20% in third area], negative DRE, bone scan and MRI. Starting proton radiation therapy 2/22/07.

Post Edited (pcdave) : 4/5/2007 3:40:47 PM (GMT-6)


Dutch
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 400
   Posted 4/5/2007 2:43 PM (GMT -7)   

Bob:

Proton therapy is not cheap, but it is my understanding that most major insurance companies cover it.  The part you are responsible for would depend on how good your insurance was.  Medicare also covers it and if you have supplemental, I would assume the supplemental would pick up the difference.  I don't know for sure because my insurance paid it in full, but I have heard from others that it is about $60,000.  Also have heard that the amount billed insurance companies is more than that billed to Medicare - don't know??

Without insurance the cost in 2004 was about $38,000 with $8-9,000 down payment.  I think monthly payments at that time were about $1,000.  This is what 2 men we referred to LL paid in 2004 as they had Kaiser and Kaiser will not pay for anything they don't do in house.

The above is an "in the ballpark" answer, so don't quote me without checking with Loma Linda directly.

Dutch

I also should add that the above only refer to Loma Linda - I have no knowledge of the cost at the other institutions that do proton.



Diagnosed Feb 2001  (Age 65)  Currently 71
PSA 4.8
Gleason 3 + 3 = 6
T2b
Completed Proton therapy @ Loma Linda - Aug 2001
5yr PSA   0.17
Have had no side effects.

Post Edited (Dutch) : 4/5/2007 4:22:18 PM (GMT-6)


peeweeaz
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 27
   Posted 4/6/2007 8:17 AM (GMT -7)   

Dutch: and PCDave:

Thanks for the quick responses. Since I don't yet qualify for Medicare (63), my insurer and I would have to do battle for the costs. You both have given me some useful information to gnaw on. Thanks again and, as they say down South, buenos fuetes with your treatments.

Bob


Pete42
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 114
   Posted 4/6/2007 11:12 AM (GMT -7)   
Bob- I checked into the costs without insurance and the amount quoted earlier is right on.

Diagnosed 1/26/07
Stage Tc1
Gleason 6
PSA 3.8
12 samples, positive in one 15%
Age 51
Surgery (robotic) scheduled for May 5 2007 City of Hope


peeweeaz
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 27
   Posted 4/6/2007 12:18 PM (GMT -7)   

Pete42:

Thanks for the confirmation. I see you were also diagnosed recently. However, ur numbers look pretty good. I hope you feel confident that the nasty thing will be out of there soon. Good luck with the lap dance.

 

Bob

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