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Medicare Subsidy Program Found to Be Effective With Breast Cancer Treatment Affordability

A preliminary study, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in Boston, found that a Medicare subsidy program has made it easier for breast cancer patients to continue with the treatment they need. This improvement was found to be constant throughout all demographics and promotes continuation of hormone therapy after surgery. The study, detailed in a Medline Plus article, focused on over 23,000 early stage breast cancer patients.

The group included in the study involved those who were enrolled in Medicare Part D. Studied individuals began hormone therapy within a year after surgery. The studied treatments included tamoxifen, anastrazole, letrozole and exemestane.

It was found that of the population studied, 27 percent were enrolled in the Medicare Part D Extra Help low-income subsidy program. This program is meant to help subsidize treatments necessary for cancer recovery. Hormone therapy costs often are not covered by conventional program assistance. The costs incurred by the patient can range from $155 to $428 per year on average.

After the first year, there were some differences among demographics for continuing therapy. For those who were not in the program, only 55 percent of Hispanics and blacks continued with treatment, compared with 62 percent of whites. With the inclusion of the program, the rates rose to 71 percent for whites and Hispanics, and 67 percent for blacks.

This study is one of many that are focusing on the benefits of medical interventions across a variety of demographics, in line with recent trends to ensure equality for all demographics in the medical field.

Affordable care is one of many aspects necessary for patients to realize the world-class cancer care available in the United States. Doctors and hospitals must also provide treatment in line with the standard of care for cancer diagnosis and treatment.