Cancer Treatment Foundation

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Faces of Cancer

Soon after Valerie Berry 45, of Chicago, was diagnosed with breast cancer, her thoughts turned to money. Even with private health insurance covering 80 percent of her costs, the bills soon stacked up. Her out-of-pocket share for the first three months of treatment added up to $8,000. Berry said “It got to the point where I had to stop opening bills because I was getting one every day, sometimes two.”
Louisa Wilson, 63, of Bartlett, underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation after she was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in 1996. She was prescribed the drug Femara to prevent recurrence but stopped taking it after three years because, she said, it was unaffordable. She also didn’t follow up with an oncologist for several years afterward.
Today Wilson is battling cancer that has spread throughout her body. Her current drug has a $318 co-pay, which Wilson says she can’t afford on her small pension and Social Security, even with her Medicare replacement insurance. She also still owes for a $200,000 hospital bill.

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