Advances in diagnosis and treatment mean that a once deadly childhood blood cancer will soon be curable in nearly 90 percent of cases, experts report.
The use of gene-based diagnosis and treatment, more effective use of existing drugs, and the adoption of emerging disease-management strategies will continue to increase the cure rate for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), according to a report by researchers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, in Memphis, Tenn. In 1962, the cure rate for this disease was just 4 percent, they note.
This is terrific news, but unless and until insurance companies decide to reimburse for these tests only those with the means to pay out-of-pocket will benefit. And that’s shameful.
It’s really part of a bigger problem — insurance firms are willing to cover acute expenses, but panic over chronic care that, in the long term, would save trillions — and save lives.
If the folks running the big insurance companies think preventive genetic testing is expensive, they should compare it to the costs of the disease.