Ask and You Might Receive: Financial Assistance for Testing & Medication Might Be Easier Than You Think
The Guardant Health Test, (genomic testing) is a simple blood test that comes with a high price tag. Some of the expense was covered by insurance, but for me, it was very important to find out the DNA of my tumor before I made any decisions about my treatment plan.
After my Guardant Health Test results came back in December of 2018, the DNA of my breast tumor was determined and provided my care team with a 26-page report with significant data as well as clinical trials currently in progress. This simple blood test gives an indication of what treatments might be most beneficial. Reading the report, it was noted that: Anastrozole, Exemestane, and Letrozole, all aromatase inhibitors, were not effective for my tumor. At that time, I was on Anastrozole. A treatment that might work was Fulvestrant (Fasolodex). The results were key to moving forward. Along with the Fulvestrant (Fasolodex), my doctor advised me to take Verzenio. Verzenio also comes with a high price tag. You might have seen the commercials on television.
Verzenio treatment for stage 4 breast cancer
Verzenio is a prescription medication classified as a targeted therapy to treat advanced or metastatic breast cancer that is hormone receptor positive and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) negative. It may be used in combination with certain hormone therapies, or alone (as monotherapy). Verzenio is manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company.
Can't afford treatment for stage 4 breast cancer
I couldn't believe it when I found out the monthly price tag for this drug. The first phone call I received from my insurance company advised me that only a portion of the monthly cost would be covered. My financial responsibility was still so expensive per month. The representative who called me told me to look into financial assistance. I further investigated and found that I could apply to www.lillycares.com for the possibility of obtaining financial help for this drug. Frequently, your doctor’s office will work with you to complete and send this application. Since my initial diagnosis, I have been my own advocate, so I figured the paperwork out and faxed the information back on December 14, 2018. You have the option to receive a text message with the final decision, which is what I opted to do.
On January 2, 2019, my phone was sounding off several text message alerts. The text read: "Your application for the Lilly Cares Patient Assistance Program has been approved. Your medication should arrive at your doctor’s office within 2-3 weeks. Depending upon the medication you are receiving, you may be contacted by our specialty pharmacy for delivery arrangements."
My treatment plan would include Verzenio, monthly injections of Fasolodex and Xgeva to strengthen my bones. The Specialty Pharmacy contacted me on January 4 (Friday) and told me they would have the medication delivered on Monday, January 7, 2019. It arrived the next day, January 8.
Financial assistance for stage 4 breast cancer
Grateful to Lilly Cares and other funding organizations that make it possible for patients to afford a drug that might make a difference in someone’s quality of life. My goal in life is simple. My path includes avenues to maintain a great quality of life. Doing things that make me happy. If you need financial assistance, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talk with your doctor or healthcare provider about options that may be available in your specific situation. Additionally, your healthcare provider’s office may have a financial counselor on staff that can help you navigate monetary or insurance issues, to help you afford the treatment that you need. If you don’t have the time or energy to complete the application, ask your doctor’s office to help you navigate the waters. Ask and you will receive.
Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to say that on November 5, 2019, Linda passed away. Linda’s advocacy efforts and writing continue to reach many. She will be deeply missed.
Have you gotten a second (or third) opinion after your breast cancer diagnosis?