Chemotherapy may be highly effective in treating cancer, but its side effects also can be a nightmare for patients. Medical researchers have long tried to determine how to successfully cure cancer without chemotherapy, and a recent study yielded some very positive results.1
In the largest-ever study on breast cancer treatment, funded by the National Cancer Institute and other groups, researchers discovered that the majority of women with the most common form of early-stage breast cancer can safely skip chemotherapy without hurting their chances of beating the disease. In most cases, surgery and hormone therapy have proven to be successful alternatives. This revelation could spare up to 70,000 U.S. patients a year from the ordeal of chemotherapy.2
Even if a patient survives the disease, medical expenses may still lead to serious financial problems. Advances in genetic screening help bring awareness to those predisposed for certain medical conditions.3 This can be frightening, but also empowering, allowing greater control of related components such as planning financially for the future. If you’re concerned about the long-term costs associated with a serious medical condition, we’re always happy to help you explore various insurance options.
For example, supplemental insurance plans may help offset the burden of high out-of-pocket expenses including:4
- Hospital indemnity insurance
- Critical illness insurance
- Disease-specific insurance (e.g., cancer, heart attack, stroke)
Researchers recently discovered that pancreatic cancer patients whose disease had not spread had a longer life expectancy when taking a four-drug combination instead of a traditional single cancer drug. While there is no effective screening for pancreatic cancer, about 15 percent of patients diagnosed early are good candidates for surgery and this promising new form of treatment.5
Of course, the best way to save money on serious medical conditions is to not develop one in the first place. On that front, many studies suggest diet and exercise meant to reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases, including the World Cancer Research Fund’s suggestion to avoid processed meats and alcohol. Meats such as bacon, salami, hot dogs and some sausages are correlated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer, while alcohol is linked to a variety of different cancers, including mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, breast, stomach and colon.6
If you really want to be vigilant about avoiding developing a serious disease, consider joining the 7.3 million vegetarians in the U.S. — more than 3 percent of the population. Another 22.8 million people — approximately 10 percent of U.S. adults — eat a mostly vegetarian diet. Not only can this strategy help reduce the risk of developing heart disease, cancer and diabetes, but vegetarians (no meat, poultry or fish) and vegans (no meat, poultry, fish or dairy) also tend to enjoy high energy levels, shiny hair, strong nails and less fitful sleep.7
1 CBS News. June 4, 2018. “Many breast cancer patients can safely skip chemotherapy, major study finds.” https://www.cbsnews.com/news/many-breast-cancer-patients-can-safely-skip-chemotherapy-major-study-finds/. Accessed July 13, 2018.
3 Dr. Lisa Albaid. Los Angeles Times. July 5, 2018. “Genetic screening can inform women of their breast and ovarian cancer risks.” http://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/opinion/tn-dpt-me-commentary-genes-20180705-story.html. Accessed July 13, 2018.
4 Mila Araujo. The Balance. March 16, 2018. “The Basics of a Supplemental Health Insurance Plan.” https://www.thebalance.com/the-basics-of-a-supplemental-health-insurance-plan-2645664. Accessed July 13, 2018.
5 CBS News. June 4, 2018. “Study finds rare advance in treatment of pancreatic cancer.” https://www.cbsnews.com/news/study-finds-rare-advance-in-treatment-of-pancreatic-cancer/. Accessed July 13, 2018.
6 Jamie Ducharme. Time. May 26, 2018. “Cancer Group Recommends Ditching Bacon and Booze to Stay Cancer-Free.” http://time.com/5292566/world-cancer-research-fund-report/. Accessed July 13, 2018.
7 Newsweek. “Vegetarian diet: This is what happens to your body when you go vegetarian.” http://www.newsweek.com/vegetarian-happen-body-go-vegan-health-fitness-list-slideshow-1023675. Accessed July 12, 2018.