Why aren’t we hearing about cryoablation?

You might be saying to yourself, “Why on earth have I not heard about cryotherapy or cryoablation from my doctor or oncologist?” Why haven’t you seen information on the news? If cryoablation works so well at killing off breast cancer cells, not only in the tumor but also 85% of the time in lymph nodes and satellite lesions, why does no one know about this?

Cryotherapy to treat malignant breast tumors is still considered experimental even after 14 years and thousands of women treated in China and other countries internationally and even though there is very little risk of harming anyone using this technology. The ice ball created around the tumor simply melts.

I personally feel the reason cryoablation is not being embraced is that it works too well and it would be taking money away from the “cancer machine” by which physicians make more money when people are ill. There is little incentive to do a 20 to 30 minute office visit with ultrasound to freeze a cancer that might never come back again. US medicine is an illness-based system, not a  prevention-based system. Women are the pawns on the allopathic medical chess board.

I recently conducted a local survey here in Eugene, Oregon when a fee-for-service patient of mine without any insurance wanted to know what a simple mastectomy might cost her and her family. She had a very abnormal thermogram and I had begun to send her through the system to get structural studies done, a biopsy, and a surgical consult. When she asked me how much it would cost, I did not know, so I started calling offices at the hospital to find out. It was eye-opening for me.

I called the following offices: radiology to get the costs for mammogram and ultrasound; pathology to find out about the cost of needle and excisional biopsy samples. Then I called one of the local surgical groups to find out about the costs for the surgical consult prior to surgery, the surgical procedure itself, and post-op visits. Then I called the anesthesia department to get the pre-surgery anesthesiology visit charge and cost for the anesthesiologist’s services during surgery. Then I called outpatient day surgery and asked also what it would cost for hospital facility fees if there was an overnight stay, plus post-op care in the recovery area, IVs, medications, etc. After all these calls, I discovered a simple mastectomy in Eugene, Oregon ranged between $57,000 and $57,500! These fees may be higher in other regions of the U.S.

I was shocked and amazed to know how much this would cost this farmer’s wife who was home schooling her kids, and who currently had no insurance!

As a post script in this case, I want to let the readers know that I also contacted the hospital social services department and after several phone calls, I was able to get this woman enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan/Obama Care so that her upcoming breast cancer treatment would not bankrupt her and her family.

Unfortunately, this financial forecast of what breast cancer costs a woman is not yet complete. Now these previously mentioned medical/surgical fees do not take into consideration what might come next for this woman if she were sent to medical oncology for chemotherapy or radiation oncology or, worst case scenario, to both departments if she had an invasive cancer with positive  lymph nodes. This woman might also be put on estrogen blockers like Tamoxifen and be subject to the costs and medical oversight that go along with that. This was harder for me to estimate, but several of my client cancer survivors who had gone that route told me that, conservatively, that might total another $50,000 or $60,000 or more on top of the surgery. You might easily be up over $110,000 to over $120,000 to treat your breast cancer!

You can now see why I have been so passionate about promoting “Prevention IS the Cure!” after learning the financial strain as well as the emotional and physical suffering a woman and her  family go through after being handed a breast cancer diagnosis.