Many lobbying federal lawmakers for more affordable oral chemo - KCTV5

Many lobbying federal lawmakers for more affordable chemo in pill form

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KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

Every year, 12.7 million people find out they have cancer, and 7.6 million people die from the disease. There's one treatment option available that's causing conversation on Capitol Hill.

Chemotherapy can be a time-consuming treatment, forcing patients out of work or, like Emily Thompson, out of school.

"It's pretty much like a full-time job," Thompson said.

She now works at the University of Kansas Cancer Center, but she was previously there as a 20-year-old Leukemia patient. She's one of several lobbying federal lawmakers for more affordable chemotherapy in pill form, a type of treatment insurance companies don't cover very well.

"You would save a lot of gas money, you would be able to be in the comfort of your own home, which would lift your spirits," Thompson said.

To give people an idea of how expensive oral chemo can get, a month's worth of chemo usually comes in a box full of sheets of pills. Depending on a person's insurance, their co-pay alone could cost anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000 a month.

"In the next five years, 50 percent of our chemo therapies will be in oral form, so we must get this addressed in a timely fashion, because it will impact so many of our patients," said Catherine Glennon, director of nursing at the University of Kansas Cancer Center.

She was in D.C., hoping lawmakers will force insurance companies to cover all chemo therapies on a more even ground.

"Twenty-three states have already passed this. Kansas is one of them and Missouri, we're doing a lot of legislative work in Missouri because they do not have this in place yet," Glennon said.

Currently a house bill is on the table. Al Franken is hoping to get a senate version together.

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