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Sun, May 17 3:58pm · MammaPrint (prognostic/predictive diagnostic test) Insurance Coverage in Breast Cancer

Thank you both for your kindness. I have pursued this issue with insurance as much as I can tolerate. Ive been working on this for well over a year, and hitting a brick wall every way I turn. I will pay this debt off by making payments a little at a time until it’s done. My credit rating and good reputation of paying my bills is valuable to me. I posted here to see if others have had similar experiences. Plus a warning to other readers of what has happen to me in this situation. I am very grateful for the availability of mammaprint from Agendia. This test saved me from needing to go through the struggles of chemotherapy. Just because the hospitals and physicians we work with are within our preferred list with insurance, it doesn’t mean that lab work and other testing they prescribe is also covered. Nor is it necessarily the physicians responsibility to check each patients insurance coverage. We must ask questions and advocate for ourselves in medical procedures. But as I said in my original post, the cost is a bitter pill to swallow! Hoping my experience can be beneficial to others as they pursue the best treatments for themselves.

Sat, May 16 2:19pm · MammaPrint (prognostic/predictive diagnostic test) Insurance Coverage in Breast Cancer

John and Teresa, Thank you both for your response. It’s been nearly two years since I had breast cancer and a mammaprint test. Of course I’ve perused it with Blue Cross as much as possible in those two year’s time! At the time I was covered under my husband’s health insurance policy from his employment. I have since aged into Medicare, plus a supplement ( I chose a Medicare supplement with a company other than Blue Cross because of this issue.) I have pursued this mammaprint issue with Blue Cross for over a year. Each time I have persistently called, I get the run around from agent to agent, Several times my call has been ‘dropped‘ in transfers from agent to supervisor, so I have to start the calling all over again. The bottom line is always that “it’s not covered”. I wondered if others on these message boards have had the same problem. I am also hoping that other women here reading our posts will see my experience and hopefully prevent this problem for themselves.

Wed, May 13 5:31pm · MammaPrint (prognostic/predictive diagnostic test) Insurance Coverage in Breast Cancer

My Medical insurance has refused to cover my MammaPrint from Agendia testing service. Has anyone else had this problem? I was covered by Blue Cross/Blue Shied and they won’t cover it. It’s $4200.00, it is worth every penny to me because it helped determine that I did not need Chemo., and that radiation would suffice in my case. But the cost is also a bitter pill to swallow.

Wed, Apr 29 11:11am · Do you get routine scans for breast cancer followup? in Breast Cancer

I had early stage two breast cancer with minimal spread to lymph nodes two years ago. I have complete trust in my oncologist and follow her recommendations. She is very open to discuss anything I need to understand. I see her every 6 months for follow up that includes mammogram. I love her common sense approach and that she is concerned about my wellness in general not just breast cancer. I talked to her about my fears of recurrence at my last visit a few months ago. She told me that too many women are so concerned about recurrence of breast cancer, that other health issues can sneak up on them unnoticed. Her advise was to enjoy life, move forward, and quit worrying about recurrence. If breast cancer does come back we’ll address it together at that time. I loved that she said, we’ll address it ‘together’. I got tears in my eyes knowing that she is on my side, and I’m not alone in this. Nobody wants cancer to return, but if it does, I know everything possible is being done and will continue to be done to help me get through it the second time. Nobody has a ‘magic wand’ or miracle treatment to prevent or cure cancer. We must move forward with treatment, get through it, and put cancer behind us. I’ve learned that’s really hard to do, but the alternative of driving myself crazy worrying about recurrence is a ‘cancer’ in itself. Best of luck to everyone on this site, you all have helped me to feel like I’m not alone on this journey.

Fri, Feb 21 9:17am · LCIS: should I take Tamoxifen? in Breast Cancer

Sparklegram, YES, I had some pretty severe hives while on Tomoxifin. Last year I was on Tomoxifin and broke out with some pretty severe hives. I tried benedryl, and other over the counter meds., but nothing helped. I was miserable from the itching. It went on for several weeks and got so bad that I went to an emergency treatment center. The doctor there put my on a two week course of steroids to get rid of them. He told me to stop the Tomoxifin while I was on the steroids, and call my oncologist to let her know what was going on. The steroids worked and the hives went away. I saw my oncologist shortly after treatment for the hives. She gave me a break from any cancer drugs for a few months during the summer. I saw my oncologist in September and asked my to try exemestane. I’ve been on that for several months, and the side effect are much better. No hives! I also had issues with memory and cognitive function while on both anastrozole, and Tomoxifin. The memory issues I was having on anastrozole and Tomoxifin, are much better on Exemestane also. I’m very grateful there are drugs for treatment of breast cancer to lessen the chance of recurrence, but finding the right one for each of us is challenging!!! Best of luck to you, and hope you find relief from your current itching problems. Let us know how you are doing! We care!

Sun, Feb 9 11:16am · What is effective in treating joint pain from AI treatment? in Breast Cancer

Bone and joint aches and pains seem to be my worst side effect too. I’m on Exemestane now. I was on Anastrozole which gave me brain fog so badly I couldn’t think straight, and thought I was sliding into dementia. My doctor then switched me to Tomoxifin and I had similar side effects to the Anastrozole. I switched to Exemestane about 6 months ago and it’s ‘tolerable’. I keep expecting to be able to eventually go back to the person I was before my breast cancer diagnosis, but I’m beginning to think that will never happen. I’ve learned to ‘console’ myself by being grateful that I’m alive and for the medication available to us helping to keep cancer away. I’m 66 and looked forward to my retirement from work for many years! Now I feel like an an 80 year old woman due to medication I must take to keep cancer away…

Fri, Feb 7 1:24pm · What is effective in treating joint pain from AI treatment? in Breast Cancer

Oh my, how I wish someone had a solid answer to countering joint pain! I started on Anastrozole also. My worst side effect was brain fog, and forgetfulness so bad I thought I was sliding into dementia. My doctor switched me to Tomoxifin but it wasn’t much better. This past summer my doctor gave me a break from meds all together to see if those side effect went away. I was sooooo much better and felt like my old self again! In September, my doctor asked me to try Exemestane, so I started on that and have been taking it for 5 months now. It’s far from being free of side effects, but for me, it seems I tolerate it better than the others. I saw my doctor for my mammogram and an exam in mid-December, and there wasn’t any sign of cancer returning. I’m trilled with that! So regardless of some joint pain and a bit of confusion/forgetfulness, I’m very grateful to just put up with side effects that are annoying and mildly uncomfortable. Until there is a cure, AI’s are the best treatment available to us… I can put up with the Exemestane, do the best I can, and enjoy what life has to offer by putting breast cancer behind me as much as I can. But I also must admit, knowing there is the possibility of recurrence is always on my mind

Thu, Jan 30 12:22pm · Aches and pains in the bones in Breast Cancer

Bottom line is “Cancer Sucks”!!! We no longer have the choices for a healthy body that we used to have. AI’s are currently our best chance for longer term survival by keeping our breast cancer from recurrence; however, the side effects are very challenging to live with. So far, our choices are very few for alternative treatment that is as effective. Until the medical community finds a better alternative, this is all we have. I’ve been on Anastrozole, Tomoxifin, and now Exemestane. My worst symptom is ‘brain fog’. I can deal with the aches and pains, but not being able to think straight or the forgetfulness drives me crazy!!! Those side effects were the worst on Anastrozole, and not much better on Tomoxifin. Exemestane so far has been better for the brain fog, but I do have joint pain. I’ve done yoga for a little over 25 years, and that helps… but some days I hurt so bad that even my yoga practice isn’t any fun anymore. But I’m alive, cancer free, and able to enjoy the company of my family. I only have one grandchild, and she is the joy of my life! I’ll figure out how to put up with the aches and pains… considering the alternative of cancer recurrence! But I certainly don’t like it one little bit!!!