Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Cost of Cancer

USA Today had a nice blip in their Sunday paper about how cancer patients are forgoing care due to cost. Unaffordable health care is greatly limiting access to care in America. It’s an epidemic. This will reach devastating proportions in the future. We should all be very scared.
Health care costs, on average, increase at a rate 4X that of regular inflation. Tally that up, health care costs will rise 40% this year.
Besides this scary fact, research has shown that since 2003 (the year I was diagnosed) out of pocket patient costs have increased 109%. Ouch, and this information was only for 2003-2006, before the economy and inflation became what it is today.
A study in 2006 by Cancer found that 20% of cancer survivors chose to forgo recommended care. This is 20% of SURVIVORS, it doesn’t mention the dead cancer patients who lost their lives due to the inability to pay for care.
Nobody is covering this issue. I don’t hear many people screaming and stomping their feet. Apparently, they are lying down and dying.
I want cancer and health care to be seen as young, attractive, and scandalous. I’d like it to be more “Hollywood.”
Check out It’s a great site hollering about cancer treatment and catering to young adults. I think it comes from the creators of “Green Planet”, “Black Planet,” and “Club Planet. The format is similar and catchy.
Planet Cancer announced a “Tumors Suck Day” to be celebrated on 10/25/08. It also allows patients to create blogs to outline their adventures, but remember who your favorite cancer patient is. Remain loyal to Baldie’s blog.
There could easily be a reality TV show that follows cancer patients. It could have success if it was played after Grey’s Anatomy. It would reach an interested group.
I’m a firm believer the “Hush Hush” culture surrounding health issues is inhibiting change. I always got upset when people discussed me, but stated “I didn’t mention your name.
You should be screaming my name. I like it that way, and how many people know another woman with a 5 year old that has required 2 transplants for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Back to Hollywood.
Stand up to Cancer raised 10 million dollars, a decent amount, but I don’t think that will trickle down to the patients. The government’s failure to fund stem cell research has halted progression in a pivotal up-and-coming theory of treatment.
America is not the health care super power we would all like to think it is. The United States is, in reality, behind in all fields except plastic surgery.
If you want to look good, come to America. If you want treatment, go else where.
Health care costs are rising and insurers are shifting a hefty share to the patients. Remember, these people are business people. They have high incomes and lifestyles they want to maintain. They have stockholders to answer to.
Some plans require patients to pay 20% of their health care. Remicade costs $8000 a dose. Erbitux costs $10,000 a month. Could you afford that?
Be afraid. Be very afraid. That’s my message today. I’m going to think of solutions, sometime, but for know, I just want to educate you that my case is not unique.

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