JOPLIN, MO.--- A bill has been sent to Governor Jay Nixon's desk to make oral chemotherapy more affordable and accessible to cancer patients. Oral chemo is available by prescription only, however, not all insurance companies cover the costs. For cancer patient, Carl Hayes, his insurance company did help with costs which helped maintain his active life.
"I'm not missing any work because of that now, which is a good thing. I want to stay active and remain active," said Carl Hayes, Cancer Patient.
Under Senate Bill 668, all insurance companies would be required to provide plans to cover oral chemotherapy. The drug can be expensive depending on the type of cancer. It's less demanding on your body if the chemo is taken orally.
"These are different types of side effects. They are not free of side effects, they are different, but it's more clever in a more sexier way of treating cancer," said Dr. Anisa Hassan, Freeman Healthy System Cancer Physician.
Diarrhea and skin rashes are the most common side effects with oral chemo. While loss of hair, vomiting, and low blood counts are just some of the few side effects to regular chemo. Despite these symptoms, Dr. Hassan says the drug is not only convenient for patients, it's also effective.
"It is, I would probably say more effective than regular chemotherapy. And maybe a little bit better tolerated," said Dr. Hassan.
As for Hayes, he's thankful for the oral chemo.
"I feel well! I feel very well. Sure do," said Hayes.
If Governor Nixon signs the bill, Missouri would join 28 other states that have already enacted Oral Chemotherapy Access Law.
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