Research advances in the past few years have created drugs with the enhanced ability to target certain cancers with greater effectiveness and fewer side effects. More than 25 percent of new cancer drugs under development are in the form of oral chemotherapy, a simple pill. While our traditional image of cancer treatment is of someone getting intravenous therapy, oral chemotherapy is increasingly the most effective treatment for certain cancers. Thanks to a new law signed by Gov. Mary Fallin, it's just become more affordable for Oklahomans diagnosed with cancer.
The new law, which will go into effect Nov. 1, directs health insurance plans to cover oral chemotherapy in the same way they cover intravenous or injected treatments. This will help reduce the out-of-pocket costs that many cancer patients face in order to obtain the type of chemotherapy their doctor has deemed best for them. Now, many Oklahomans in this position are paying $5,000 a month for their chemotherapy. It makes no sense, in this day of advanced drug research, for so many people faced with a serious illness to needlessly be subjected to expenses they can't afford simply based on whether the treatment is taken orally or intravenously.
I want to thank the Legislature and Fallin for Senate Bill 76. The future has just gotten brighter for cancer patients and caregivers.
Michelle Brown, Henryetta
Brown is affiliated with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.