Jessica B California

The Cost of Cancer

Cancer alone is a harmful disease, but the actual price that families have to pay in order to get the proper treatment is really what's killing American families.

Dear Mr./Mrs. President,

My name is Jessica B. and in this letter I would like to bring up the topic of the cost that cancer patients have to pay in order to get proper treatment. Why should Cancer patients have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for a disease they didn't ask for? This disease has now been around for thousands- not hundreds of years- thousands, yet we still have not found a cure or any extremely reliable way to eradicate the disease. The National Cancer Institute explains how cancer is formed by the uncontrolled growth of cells in the human body, which can lead to the growth of tumors, either benign tumors (which typically don't cause issues) or harmful tumors that are cancerous.

Cancerous tumors and overactive growth of cells in the human body make cancer one of the leading causes of death worldwide (killing one in every four affected) and it is estimated that about 8 million people have had cancer in one form or another in the past ten years. By researching and personally knowing the costs of cancer, the average cost of treatment can range anywhere from $10,000 to over $35,000 a month. Families are forced to pay this either out of pocket or, if they are lucky enough, through the help of insurance. Depending on the type of insurance coverage the person may have, they still might have to pay out of pocket fees toward treatment.

My family knows the cost of cancer because this disease has hit close to home for me multiple times in the past 4 years. My mom has had 3 different forms of cancer, starting off with a cancerous brain tumor which worked its way down to her thyroid and from there the Cancer has spread to her lymph nodes. The doctors have told my mom a number of times that her Cancer was gone, only to figure out a month or two later that it had come back. Although our family has insurance that covers the cost of the treatments, what about the families that don't have insurance? Do they suffer and not get treatment? or do they simply struggle for the rest of their life to pay the cost to live? If our family had not been lucky enough to have insurance to help with treatment costs, my family would not have the things that every family should be able to have in today’s world (car, house, clothes, etc).

We as a country should try to focus on lowering the cost of treatment for cancer patients and make treatment more easily accessible for families affected by this horrid disease. Chemotherapy and radiation are just two forms of treatment that both can easily cost over $10,000 for one treatment during an eight week period. If this was added up to how much treatment would cost over the course of a year- the price would be around $60,000, which is usually more than most middle class workers make in a year’s time.

Doctors are coming up with new forms of treatment every year, but every year the prices of treatment go up. Doctors have begun treating patients based on genetic material found in the cancer, yet this treatment can also easily cost $10,000 or more. So the real question is, does the cancer reasearch industry care more about making money? Or is research on cancer solely to help save people suffering from this disease? An average of 4.9 billion has been made for cancer and cancer research in the past ten years, but where does the money go? Why is the money not going towards families to help pay for this horrible, and expensive leading disease in the world? This issue needs to be addressed in order to save the lives of many people around the world, not just in the United States.


Jessica B.