death panels

How Much is Life Worth in Cancer Treatment?

Prostate Cancer is a threat to every man, especially for we boomers.  A few months back I wrote about a Prostate Cancer vaccine that was approved by the FDA in April. The treatment, Provenge, has hit the wire services again today.  To me, the cost of drugs and procedures forces some to ask the question: How much is life worth.

First off, The Street reported Provenge’s nearest rival, zibotentan, failed its recent trials, as a result, AstraZeneca has closed down the zibotentan trials.  That places Provenge in a league of its own for several more years.

Also, today, an article was cast onto the public about Provenge asking the question How Much Is Life Worth? The article is correct in stating that a full course treatment with Provenge has a price tag of $93,000.  However, it goes on to state that it only prolongs life for 4 plus months.

The fact of the matter is that Provenge had a median survival of 4 plus months over the control group.  That is, half of the Provenge group lived 4 months longer and half of the group did not.  The real kicker in the trail, which the reporter neglected to state was that at 3 years 32% of Provenge men were alive, compared to only 23% of the control group, meaning the three year survival rate was improved by almost 50%.

Further, Provenge has only mild side effects compared to chemo, hormone, or radiation therapy.

Baby Boomers Ask the Question

But, the question remains, How Much is Life Worth?  I am telling you this is a question that will be asked more and more as we boomers creep into the ages where we need more health care.  On another one of my sites is relayed the story of my friend Mr. Cobb and a young VA doctor who told him he did not believe taxpayers should pay for his hormone therapy for Prostate Cancer.

So, how much is life worth?  How much would we pay to save a human life?

Life has infinite value you say.  Well, would we spend all the country’s money to save one person?  Probably not.

Since I posted the article about Mr. Cobb I have had comments from many others stating that they too had run up against doctors who were not recommending important treatment to seniors just because of the expense.  Hospital staff, administrators, and boards of governors have often decided how much life is worth.

Social Security and Medicare:  How far do they go?

how much is life worth

We boomers have paid into Social Security and Medicare for most of our lives.  We thought those programs would give us the financial power to get any treatment necessary to save our lives.

We have paid insurance premiums, high premiums, and ever-increasing premiums for years, now when we need to dip into these funds the question is being asked How Much is Life Worth?  It is time that we begin to stand up for ourselves in this realm.

Many of us took part in various just causes in the past, that is one of the hallmarks of our generation.  How Much Is Life Worth?….well maybe it is time to speak out, especially when we are talking about our lives.  A few people outside of our generation are sticking up for us.

See our other health-related articles.

(upate May, 2021)

Update on My Own Life

Now that I have turned 72 and have been on Medicare for seven years, I am grateful that Medicare is better than any health insurance that I have ever enrolled in.  I hear the same from many who receive its benefits.

Thankfully, I have not had to face any procedures or prescriptions that would cost a fortune.  Yet, I do know that Medicare has its limits.

With more and more of Baby Boomers face health issues and a smaller population of other generations paying into Social Security and Medicare, those we elect to public office have to again ask the question: how much is life worth.

By Chowning

Richard Chowning was a teenager during the 60s. Being a Southern California resident during those years, he experienced many of the events and trends that distinguished those times.

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