November is Global Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and the Irish Cancer Society has organised efforts to inform on identifying the early symptoms of lung cancer with a free Lung Health Roadshow.
This has come about as a result of recent findings from a survey by Core Research that shows 1 in 5 people say that the cost of a visit to the GP prevents them from having symptoms checked.
GP visits generally range from €45 to €65 depending on where you live, a cost with profound impact as personal finances decline into the later months as a result of heating and energy costs, and end-of-year bills roll around.
The Lung Health Roadshow takes place in shopping centres across Ireland and are in the form of nurse-led pop-up clinics.
A study by BMJ reported approximately ten percent increased risk of death for every month of delayed cancer treatment which further highlights the importance of early diagnosis.
The issue of cost coming between patients and treatment is a tragic one most poignantly illustrated in the United States. It points to a wider problem of today’s patients needing to decide between dealing with the medical or financial side of illness treatment.
‘No Patient Left Behind’ is an American organisation that work to help patients who cannot afford their medications. Many people who are diagnosed with cancer in America who are underinsured or uninsured find themselves in deep financial trouble. For drugs with no generic equivalents, prices can also skyrocket, to the point that patients who cannot afford them skip doses or don’t get treatment at all.
Such cases have led to a rise in buying medications from foreign pharmacies because they can be significantly cheaper, even with Medicaid or Medicare. This method is technically illegal, although the state rarely intervenes in this.
A legal option for Americans who can’t fully pay for their treatment is the existence of drug assistance programmes. They are run by major biopharmaceutical companies such as Genentech and AstraZeneca. There are conditions to qualification, however – such as being on Medicare.