I have been trying to piece together a CAD$ price tag on my cancer treatment since my surgery.  I've asked my surgeon, Dr. X,  what my diagnosis and surgery cost.  He threw some numbers around - $1k for the OR for an hour, triple that for the attending staff, the nuclear dyes - but he didn't have an answer.

Same for my oncologist Dr. F ... she couldn't put a price tag on my treatment.  But she nodded when I quoted the American price.

$500k to $1.5M

In the USA, everything - and I mean EVERYTHING - is barcoded to charge the patient.  You need a bandage?  You pay for it.  A piece of tape?  Same.  CT Scans and MRIs?  Ultrasound?  Medicine?   Lumpectomy?  Mastectomy?  Chemotherapy?  Reconstruction?  Recurrence?  Quarterly checkups to get to 5 years NED (No evidence of disease)?  IV line?  PICC line?  PICC line insertion?  Genetics testing?  Endless blood work?

Sell your house or hope to God you have insurance (and not a pre-existing condition today ...)!

I wish our Canadian government could hand us a zero balance invoice at the end of our medical journey.   I'd love to see what my medical costs were.  Would I stop complaining about taxes?

As a Canadian, I just walk into a doctor's office, hospital etc.  There are no copays.  No premiums (we pay higher taxes which pays for our healthcare).  But it is there when we - and our fellow Canadians - need it.  For the most part.  If you live in a metropolitan area, like I do.

And how can we as Canadians burden the cost of more and more cancer?  Sobering, sobering thought.

Rather educated but unscientific ... I estimate the cost to be similar here in Canada.  Factor in lower drug costs and a weak Canadian dollar and it washes out.  At least for the sake of this post.

$500k to $1.5M

The cost rises as the complexities and surgeries rise.  I automatically qualify for reconstruction surgery due to my breast cancer.

I've been in the Emergency room for four days.

I've been hospitalized for six days in a $425/day private room with around-the-clock care of nursing staff and five doctors.

Blood tests.  CT Scans.  Three ultrasounds.  Mammograms.  MUGA Heart Test.  Bone test.

$15k to $20k in chemo cocktails et al. including that $4200 Neulasta injection.

Neulasta is not "free" with my OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) coverage ... My health plan pays most then the manufacturer kicks in the rest to get me to 100% coverage.  I need at least 8 x Neulasta ... maybe 16.  That almost $68,000 right there.

Don't panic (in Ontario) if you can't cover the Neulasta ... OHIP covers Neupogen.  You get 64 or more needles instead of 8!

Under $200 for my before and after chemo drugs but I only pay 10-20% thanks to my medical benefits.

What do you do without medical benefits???

For today - and every day - I am more thankful to be Canadian and for my employer.

And I won't be complaining.

Gratefully yours,

Lisa

 

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