Understanding insurance coverage and the stages of cancer

by the Editor, SeniorInsider | Jun 02, 2011

If you have recently found out that you or a loved one has cancer, it goes without saying that you are going through a very difficult period in your life. Your doctor will likely give you a number that describes the extent to which the cancer has spread. The stages of cancer take into account a variety of factors, which include the tumor size and whether or not it has metastasized to other parts of the body. This article will explore the stages of cancer and also how to obtain the medical insurance coverage that you need.

Insurance Coverage May be the Last Thing on Your Mind

Issues like insurance coverage and descriptions of the disease may be the furthest thing on your mind right now. However, no matter what stage of cancer you are experiencing, there will undoubtedly be a wide variety of bills that need to be handled. As a result, it is never too early to consider the insurance coverage options that are available to you.

Understanding the Different Stages of Cancer

When the doctor tells you the stage of cancer, it is important that you pay attention to this detail, as it is a huge factor that will influence your prognosis. The cancer stages use roman numerals I, II, III and IV. If you are at stage IV of your cancer, this means that the disease has likely metastasized and spread to other organs.

Medical Insurance Coverage

One thing that may make you feel better about your condition is that fact that there could be financial resources out there to assist you in the way of medical insurance coverage. Of course, money may be the last thing on your mind right now; however, you certainly don’t want to cause additional issues by neglecting to think through insurance coverage and potential payment options.

Insurance Coverage Through Private Health Plans

Quite frequently, cancer patients are covered through private insurance. This can be through their own plans or employee group plans. Group plans are often most cost effective as often employers pay a part of the charge. Individual plans usually cost more, but they usually offer comprehensive medical insurance coverage.

Medical Insurance Coverage is Necessary No Matter What the Stage of Cancer May Be

Cancer can spread through three different ways. The first way is through tissue where the cancer spreads to the tissue surrounding it. The second way is through the lymph system.  The cancer can travel through lymph vessels and reach other parts of the body. Lastly, cancer can spread through the blood as it invades the capillaries and veins.

Of course, the prognosis for different types of cancer is based on the stage. For example, stage 1 cancers are often small and localized.  In this case, they are largely curable. Stage IV cancer, on the other hand, may mean that the condition is inoperable.  

The Importance of Regular Screenings

Even if you can overcome the initial invasion of cancerous cells, it can return. Sometimes this is due to the fact that cancer cells had broken off and lodged themselves in other areas of the body that were not detected by doctors. On occasion, a tiny bit of the cancer is left behind during the surgery and it grows into something larger. This is called a recurrent condition.  

Therefore, even after you have healed from your initial cancer treatment, there may be additional costs down the road. Your senior insurance will likely cover preventative screening tests, which are highly recommended.

The National Cancer Institute provides a great deal of information on the staging system for cancer.  You can find a great deal of information on their website http://www.cancer.gov. It is also a good idea to start looking into the various benefits that you can receive from Medicare including Medicare supplemental insurance. A great deal of information is clearly laid out at http://www.medicare.gov.



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