News Headlines Article

The Punishing Cost of Cancer Care
The New York Times

“I think it’s time to switch therapies,” I told my patient, as he and his wife sat next to each other by the wall of my exam room.

He stared at me, unblinking, through his chipped, wire-rimmed glasses as his wife looked quickly down at the medication list she clutched in her hands. Her worn purse sat on the floor by her chair. “Switching therapies” was a euphemism for “your cancer is progressing,” a point I didn’t need to hammer home with them – they both knew the score.

“O.K.” he said, taking a deep breath. “What’s next?”

We had been navigating his cancer together for a year-and-a-half, balancing the most effective treatments we could devise with what his health insurance would cover, and what he could afford. The 90-mile drive to Cleveland was itself an economic strain, gas prices being what they were and their aging car becoming increasingly more finicky, particularly during the cold winter months.