The Cost Of Multiple Myeloma On Families
The difficulty with multiple myeloma is that it is incurable and chronic. This means for patients who have been diagnosed with multiple myeloma or currently receiving treatment for multiple myeloma can experience long term financial strain that not only affects your ability to access treatment but your family’s financial stability.
The out of pocket costs for multiple myeloma patients are surprisingly high compared to other medical conditions and illnesses. This is because the common treatments for multiple myeloma are expensive. Bortezomib (Velcade) or lenalidomide (Revlimid) drugs, which are commonly prescribed to multiple myeloma patients can cost up to $5,000 a month.
Multiple myeloma also is known to occur in Americans who are 65 years or older. This add another layer of difficulty as many of these patients are unable to work, do not have large savings and cannot financially support themselves through cancer treatments. This also means patients can have higher out of pocket costs that are unexpected such as paying for a full time caregiver and transportation costs to specialized medical centers.
Treatment options have also changed over the years, where more and more multiple myeloma patients are using stem cell transplants to fight this form of cancer. This treatment can cost thousands of dollars out of pocket per patient.
Patients who relapsed and require further treatment, or where the cancer has spread can face even more difficulties accessing treatment due to financial barriers.
The Good Things That Happen After You Get Multiple Myeloma Financial Assistance
1. Receive Treatment
One of the biggest benefits of seeking multiple myeloma financial assistance is that cancer patients can access much needed cancer treatment without having to worry about the costs.
Through seeking financial assistance, cancer patients can feel confident in receiving the best treatment and medical care possible. When battling cancer, patients can often choose to forgo treatment, skip medication or avoid doctor’s appointments in fear of the financial strain it can place. Being able to pay for such medical expenses allows patients to focus on fighting cancer.
2. Emotional Benefits
Many multiple myeloma patients will feel a sense of relief from all the financial burden experience when undergoing treatment. Before receiving financial assistance cancer patients can feel overwhelmed, stressed, frustrated and depressed about how to overcome their financial barriers.
By seeking financial assistance, patients will feel a weight lifted off their shoulders and begin to feel a sense of relief from all the stress they have endured.
3. Financial Stability
Being financial stable for a period of time can help you gain better focus on what your priorities are. Your health and well-being as well as spending most of your time with family and friends who care about you can now be put back to focus.
Having financial stability also means that you will be able to ensure the well-being of your family while you undergo multiple myeloma cancer treatment. This can be a topic that weighs heavily on a patient’s mind and now can be eased with the help of financial assistance you are receiving.
4. Relationships Are Strengthened
Fighting cancer is an emotional experience for anyone. It can completely challenge the relationships you have with loved ones. Many patients can experience more emotional distress as a result from the financial challenges they were facing.
As a result, multiple myeloma patients can start resolving issues with personal relationships that may have been damaged or broken in the process.
Many studies have shown that financial problems are one of the core reasons for divorce and/or for family breakdowns. This is particularly heightened for multiple myeloma patients who are undergoing a stressful time dealing with their health issues.
Not having to worry about your financial problems by receiving financial assistance can remove any of the stress, anger and frustration that may have been reflected onto loved ones.
Where To Get Multiple Myeloma Financial Assistance
There are many places to receive financial assistance if you are struggling with medical debt or are unable to pay for medical treatment. Typically these financial assistance options are available to multiple myeloma patients who are low income earners and are unable to cover the out of pocket costs for treatment.
PeoplePledge offers free fundraising services where multiple myeloma patients can create a fundraising page online for free. Patients can run their fundraiser for 30 to 60 days at a time and seek financial assistance from family members, friends and other networks they may have.
The amount raised will be deposited into your bank account or PayPal account, where patients are able to use the funds as they see fit. This means there are no limitations or restrictions on how the funds can be used.
As long as the funds are intended to help the patient with their medical expenses and access to treatment, patients can use the funds to cover costs such as medication, a transplant, transportation costs, living expenses and other medical bills associated with treatment of cancer.
International Myeloma Foundation
The International Myeloma Foundation is a non-profit organization in the United States that offers financial assistance for a range of costs. These include financial assistance for medication, travel, and other treatment expenses.
Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company
Creator of bortezomib (Velcade), which is one of the most commonly used drug for treating multiple myeloma patients provides a drug assistance program to help patients access the drug for free or at a lot cost.
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Patient Aid Program
this non-profit organization called the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society offers a dedicated program to help patients with financial aid. The program called Patient Aid Program allows patients to receive up to $500 each year to help relieve patients and their families dealing with financial stress.
Patients can also seek non-monetary services and programs that can help you cope while undergoing multiple myeloma treatment. Although these services may not provide financial assistance, it can still be helpful to keep in mind.
The Partnership for Prescription Assistance
Patients can access over 475 programs that offer prescription assistance for patients who are uninsured and are unable to cover the cost of their medication and drugs directly. These programs are often run by pharmaceutical companies where select drugs and medications are available on various programs.
Each program will have their own set of requirements for eligibility and benefits. The Partnership for Prescription Assistance has a website where patients can check all available programs and check all requirements before seeking financial assistance.
The Celgene Corporation offers a unique program specifically for multiple myeloma patients who require financial assistance to access drugs
lenalidomide (Revlimid) and thalidomide (Thalomid). Both drugs are commonly used to treat multiple myeloma. Doctors may also suggest this program to help patients cover the cost of these commonly used drugs. Speak to your doctor for more information about how you can apply for this program.
The Patient Access Network
Multiple myeloma patients can receive up to $6,500 each year through the Patient Access Network. Patients must fall under certain income thresholds in order to be approved into the program. Patients can reapply each year if required, particularly for patients who have relapsed and need further assistance.
1) Total cost comparison in relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23281721
2) 5 Tips to Cover the Costs of Multiple Myeloma: http://www.everydayhealth.com/multiple-myeloma/cost-covering-tips.aspx
3) The Money Factor of Multiple Myeloma: http://www.everydayhealth.com/multiple-myeloma/paying-for-multiple-myeloma-treatment.aspx