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The Cost of Surviving AYA Cancer- Suleika Jaouad

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Between co-payments, out-of-network costs, the out-of-pocket costs of my AYA cancer care have already amounted to tens of thousands of dollars…

Patients don’t know what they don’t know. Read all the articles you want but it is difficult to know what all the costs of AYA cancer will be until you receive the many “explanation of benefits” (E.O.B’s) in you mailbox.  I didn’t understand the costs of my cancer care until after I had dug myself a huge hole.

And you know what the scariest part of a cancer diagnosis is? Beside possibly dying. In my experience the greatest problem was the idea that I had what I thought was a solid health insurance plan. Not cadillac, my any means, but solid. I was wrong.

Suleika Jaouad recently spoke at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Federal Mission Day about the costs of cancer treatment for insured patients.

Suleika Jaouad recently spoke at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Federal Mission Day about the costs of cancer treatment for insured patients.Credit John Harrington

While the cost of cancer care remains a HUGE problem in the United States, the process is slowly changing. When I think of “Life, Interrupted” cancer survivor Suleika Jaouad as she talks about her cancer experiences and compare it to mine, it is clear that Suleika understands cancer care.

Are you a cancer survivor? What do you think about Suleika Jaouad’s blog?

Thank you,

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Recommended Reading:


Life, Interrupted: The Cost of Cancer

“When I blow out my birthday candles next month, I’ll celebrate being alive. But my 25th birthday will also mark a one-year countdown to the date when I will no longer have health insurance

Up to now, I’ve been fortunate never to have to choose between groceries, rent and medical care. But even with good health insurance on my parents’ plan, the cost of my cancer treatment has been overwhelming. Between co-payments, out-of-network costs, the out-of-pocket costs of my care have already amounted to tens of thousands of dollars...

I’ve been reluctant to talk about the cost of my care with the people who provide it: my doctors. I get along well with my medical team and I have a tremendous amount of respect for them. But the idea of discussing my finances during a doctor’s appointment makes me uncomfortable.

The study, which surveyed about 300 insured patients treated at Duke Health and affiliated clinics in rural North Carolina, found that almost 60 percent of the participants had private insurance, but that the average out-of-pocket cost for patients was nearly $600 a month.

Maybe the most remarkable thing about the study is that 57 percent of the patients who did bring up their financial concerns found that the discussion helped reduce the cost of treatment. It’s a small but profound insight that suggests that communicating financial concerns to a doctor can be important in reducing treatment costs. Doctors may be able to prescribe cheaper medications or refer patients to hospital assistance programs. Hospital social workers and advocacy organizations like the Cancer Legal Resource Center, the HealthWell Foundation, the American Society of Clinical Oncologists and the American Cancer Society also provide resources for cancer patients who are struggling financially…”


The Most BioAvailable Curcumin Formulas

“Based on a review of these studies, it is evident that better bioavailability of formulated curcumin (CU) products is mostly attributed to improved solubility, stability, and possibly low first-pass metabolism”

A search of the Pubmed database for the word curcumin yields 601 studies spaning health topics from multiple myeloma and colorectal cancer, to chemotherapies that synergizes with CU, to Alzheimer’s Disease, arthritis and more. Based on years of reading studies and personal accounts, I think it is safe to say that CU supplementation is safe and relatively inexpensive.

I have read about myeloma patients taking daily doses of CU from 400 milligrams to 8 grams (1000 milligrams = 1 gram). By almost any measure, CU is a safe, inexpensive wonder drug.

The only challenge is that CU is famously difficult to absorb in the body. In other words, a person has to mix curcumin with some sort of fat (coconut oil, chocolate, etc.) or take a brand of curcumin capsule that is already formulated to be more “bioavailable” in order to derive the full benefit of CU.

The study linked and exerpted below reviews different formulations of CU. The study itself lists the three most bioavailable formulation/brand of CU and I’ve added an excerpt from a further review from Consumerlab.com that lists four additional bioavailable brands of CU.

I consult the independent evaluation service Consumerlab.com frequently. For one low annual payment, I can read about and evaluate all of the nutritional supplement that I take.

David Emerson

  • Myeloma Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Recommended Reading:


Curcumin

CU is a bright yellow chemical produced by some plants. It is the principal curcuminoid of turmeric (Curcuma longa), a member of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is sold as an herbal supplement, cosmetics ingredient, food flavoring, and food coloring.[1]

Bioavailable curcumin formulations: A review of pharmacokinetic studies in healthy volunteers.

“Curcumin is a widely studied natural compound which has shown tremendous in vitro therapeutic potential. Despite that, the clinical efficacy of the native CU is weak due to its low bioavailability and high metabolism in the gastrointestinal tract. During the last decade, researchers have come up with different formulations with a focus on improving the bioavailability of curcumin. As a result, a significant number of bioavailable curcumin-based formulations were introduced with the varying range of enhanced bioavailability.

The purpose of this review is to collate the published clinical studies of CU products with improved bioavailability over conventional (unformulated) CU. Based on the literature search, 11 curcumin formulations with available human bioavailability and pharmacokinetics data were included in this review. Further, the data on clinical study design, analytical method, pharmacokinetic parameters and other relevant details of each formulation were extracted.

Based on a review of these studies, it is evident that better bioavailability of formulated curcumin products is mostly attributed to improved solubility, stability, and possibly low first-pass metabolism. The review hopes to provide a quick reference guide for anyone looking information on these bioavailable curcumin formulations.

Based on the published reports,

exhibited over 100-fold higher bioavailability relative to reference unformulated CU. Suggested mechanisms accounting for improved bioavailability of the formulations and details on the bioanalysis methods are also discussed.”

According to Consumerlab.com:

“Novasol has the highest bioavailability (185 x compared to unforumulated CU), followed by Curcuwin (136 x), Longvida (100 x), Meriva (48 x), BCM-95 (27 x), Curcumin C3 Complex + Bioperene (20 x), and then Theracumin (16 x).”

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