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  • Zeqi Sun

Breast Cancer is Financially-Blind

In human nature we have an intrinsic drive for progress and innovations when developing solutions to a challenge that has never been solved before. However, what is the use of such advances if 61% of the world’s population cannot afford to employ such innovations?


I am talking about breast cancer treatment.


Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer among women worldwide and is the leading cause of cancer death in more than 100 countries. However, 61% of breast cancer patients find it hard or impossible to afford the care that will alleviate their pain. While we celebrate the invention of new high-tech breast cancer treatments, we often lose sight that such innovations are only helping a fraction of people around the world who are financially capable of investing in this type of care. But what about the majority of breast cancer victims? How can they get the care they need?



Let’s break down the finances of breast cancer and why this is a problem we should care about in the first place. Depending on the stage of breast cancer, treatment costs can range anywhere from $71,909 to $182,655 per patient. However, the average personal income in the United States is just $63,214 making it difficult for an average American to afford the best advances in breast cancer care. Even more concerning is that in low- and middle-income countries, the average individual income is much lower than that of the US and access to health care is even more scarce. That said, we can only imagine the desperation these women face while evaluating the treatment options that could save their lives and prevent suffering, although a vast majority simply cannot afford treatment.


You might be asking, what now or how can we change this tragic reality? Donating to allow individuals to afford breast cancer treatment is one step forward; however, with two individuals being diagnosed with breast cancer every minute in the US, donation is not a long-term solution for breast cancer patients across the US and the world to receive the care they deserve and need. We must also embrace new innovations and treatments that allow for low-cost, effective breast cancer treatment with sustainable scaling opportunities.


Although it may not be innate to human nature to encourage continued discovery of an alternate solution to a problem that some may think has been solved, by this, I mean finding an alternative treatment to breast cancers that are currently treatable; human nature should value this type of research if it means millions of breast cancer patients around the world will be able to return to living in remission without pain, suffering, and death.


Edited by: Joshua Sarafian

Graphic Designed by: Acelo Worku


References

  1. “Breast Cancer Facts & Statistics for 2022.” National Breast Cancer Foundation, 17 Oct. 2022, https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-facts#:~:text=On%20average%2C%20every%202%20minutes,cancer%20in%20the%20United%20States.

  2. Economic Evaluations of Breast Cancer Care in ... - Wiley Online Library. https://theoncologist.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/onco.13841.

  3. “Survey: Majority of Cancer Patients Struggle to Afford Cancer Care.” American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, 15 Dec. 2021, https://www.fightcancer.org/releases/survey-majority-cancer-patients-struggle-afford-cancer-care#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20latest%20Survivor,difficult%20to%20afford%20their%20care.

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