cancer care savings

The Insurance Secret That Can Save You Thousands in Cancer Care

Here’s a cancer care savings secret the hospitals don’t want you to know. You will pay more for your cancer care at a big hospital than you will at a smaller non-hospital based clinic. Is that because they offer better equipment, better doctors, or better cure rates? No. It’s because they are allowed, by insurance companies and Medicare, to charge more. There’s nothing illegal or unethical about it. It’s simply the way the system is set up. But virtually no cancer patients know this.

Get Equal Cancer Care with Significant Cost Savings

At Precision Cancer Care, we provide equal cancer care at about ⅔ the cost of the big hospitals. Because of deductibles, this directly affects patient out-of-pocket costs. This little-known insurance advantage can save you thousands. Hospital radiation therapy centers are allowed a  20-40% upcharge in the price of treatment (NCI-designated cancer centers are allowed to charge even more money). It’s perfectly legal. It’s just the way the system works.

Why Patients Pay More for Hospital Cancer Care

Because this is news to most people, let us explain in a bit more detail why patients needlessly pay more for their cancer care. The main reason is that they think they will get better care at the hospital. After all, the hospitals are always advertising how great their cure rate is, so it must be better care, right? Wrong. What exactly does better care consist of?

Do Hospitals Have Better Doctors?  

Our board certified radiation oncologist physicians at Precision Cancer Care treatment center received their training at NCI- designated cancer centers including MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Kansas Medical Center, and at other National Cancer Institute designated facilities. At our facility, you will also be treated by these skilled physicians, not a resident who is learning. Board certified radiation oncologists follow the same national guidelines for treatment planning and radiation dose prescription, based upon standards of care and the results of clinical trials, which means you will be getting the same treatment regardless of where you receive your care.

Better Equipment? No.

We use the same equipment as the big hospitals. Our photon therapy is extremely effective at targeting and destroying tumors. We have Electron Beam Radiotherapy, 3D Conformal Radiation Therapy delivered with photons and computer planning, Image-Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT) for precise targeting of tumors, Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) when we need a more complex radiation therapy beam arrangement, Stereotactic Body RadioTherapy (SBRT) and Stereotactic RadioSurgery (SRS) both of which can be used to treat tumors in the brain or body with effectiveness equal to surgical removal, without  the surgical risks of infection or anesthesia.

Better Cure Rates? No.

This is the area that is the most misleading. In the panic following a cancer  diagnosis, patients don’t consider the cost of care. They focus on survival – understandably. All they want to know is the cure rate. So big hospital marketing systems take advantage of that fear and anxiety in patients and advertise better or higher cure rates. Learn more here – link to Truth in Advertising page. Those promises are a false narrative – an untruth. We want you to know the truth.

What Doctor-Owned Cancer Treatment Centers Offer That the Hospitals Can’t

When it comes to cancer care savings, here’s something to think about. At Precision Cancer Care, we are proud to be able to  offer the same care and cure rates as the big hospitals at a fraction of the cost. We’re proud we provide these lifesaving treatments with state-of-the-art technology and board certified physicians. But what we’re most proud of is that we offer convenience and value the big hospitals simply can’t. 

Cancer Care That’s Closer, More Convenient, and Cost Effective 

At Precision Cancer Care, you get cutting-edge cancer care that’s closer to home, convenient, and more cost-effective. Large hospitals, driven by competitive administrators, are preying on patients’ hopes and fears, misleading patients about cure rates, which results in patients and their families driving further, paying more, and getting less personal care, often with residents who are in training rather than board certified physicians. We want you to know all the facts about cancer care savings before making a decision. You can stay close to home, get the highest quality of care, and it will cost you less at Precision Cancer Care. 

We know you have a choice when it comes to cancer treatment centers. We know you want the very best care. We hope this information will help you choose based on reality, not false advertising. Either way you choose, a hospital-based cancer treatment center, or our independent, doctor-owned cancer treatment center, we wish you the best in your cancer journey.

At Precision Cancer Care, we offer cure rates equal to NCI-designated hospitals, but with locations in Lawrence, Ottawa, and Chanute. For the latest in cancer care technology close to home, call us at (785) 749-3600, or contact us online to schedule an appointment with one of our board certified physicians. We hope you will choose Precision Cancer Care for your treatment and also consider us for a second opinion. Precision Cancer Care – Precisely Where You Should Be. 

Proton Therapy

Is Proton Therapy Better Than Traditional Radiation When It Comes to Cure Rates?

The simple answer is no. While proton therapy is as effective as photon therapy (traditional radiation that uses x-rays, or beams of photons), there are no studies proving it to be more effective. Couple that with the much higher cost of proton therapy, and it starts to raise questions as to whether all the extra cost is worth the nominal gain in reduced side effects. 

Studies Show Proton Therapy and Traditional Radiation Therapy Are Equivalent 

There are a few studies that have compared the results of the two types of treatment when it comes to being disease-free and survival rates. This was a study comparing the results when treating medulloblastoma (brain and spinal cord tumors). Here are the conclusions: 

“Disease control with proton and photon radiation therapy appears equivalent for standard risk medulloblastoma.”

Another study found similar cancer-free and survivor rates when comparing the two types of radiation therapy:

“Some experts believe that proton therapy is safer than traditional radiation, but there is limited research comparing the two treatments. Plus, proton therapy is more expensive than traditional radiation, and not all insurance companies cover the cost of the treatment, given the limited evidence of its benefits.

And proton therapy appeared to work as well as traditional radiation therapy to treat cancer and preserve life. After 3 years, 46% of patients in the proton therapy group and 49% of those in the traditional radiation therapy group were cancer free. Fifty-six percent of people who received proton therapy and 58% of those who received traditional radiation were still alive after 3 years.”

Proton Therapy Hype Vs. Price

There has been quite a lot of hype about proton therapy in the news lately. It is being touted as a great advancement in cancer care. I would argue that it is another way to fight cancer, and may have marginally reduced side effects in some patients, but when it comes to cure rates, unfortunately, there is no evidence so far that it exhibits any strong benefits over the traditional radiation therapy that we have been using for decades. It does, however, have one large drawback – price. Proton therapy is extremely expensive compared with traditional radiation therapy. 

How Proton Therapy Price Affects Cancer Patients

Because they are so expensive, the only entities large enough to entertain the idea of purchasing a several million dollar instrument like a proton accelerator, are large hospital systems. Something many patients don’t know is that hospital-based radiation oncology programs are legally allowed, by insurers and Medicare, to charge higher rates and facility fees. This results in a 20-40% upcharge in the price of treatment. 

NCI-designated cancer centers, in spite of receiving federal funds, are allowed to charge an even higher amount. It’s perfectly legal. It’s just the way the system works.

Same Level of Cancer Care for Less

By coming to any one of the three Precision Cancer Care locations, the cost of your care is significantly diminished compared to hospital-based radiation oncology facilities and without any sacrifice in quality of services. Plus it’s a lot more convenient! I just wish more patients knew this. If you can get the same level of care, be closer to home, and spend less out of pocket, you need to know that before deciding where to go for your cancer care.

We know you have a choice when it comes to cancer treatment centers. We know you want the very best care. We hope this information will help you choose based on real comparisons, not hospital marketing messages. Either way you choose – a hospital-based cancer treatment center, or our independent, doctor-owned cancer treatment center, we wish you the best in your cancer journey.

At Precision Cancer Care, we offer cure rates equal to NCI-designated hospitals, but with locations in Lawrence, Ottawa, and Chanute. For the latest in cancer care technology close to home, call us at (785) 749-3600, or contact us online to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified physicians. Precision Cancer Care – Precisely Where You Should Be. 

Care Cost Comparison

The Federal Government mandates that all hospitals post on their website their charges for care. While it is difficult to navigate this information for patients, it is safe to say that Precision Cancer Care, because it is a freestanding physician owned facility and not hospital based, results in a decreased expense for patients on the order of 30-40%. This means the exact same level of care is provided to patients for a 30-40% savings. For patients who have a deductible, this can result in savings of thousands of dollars by coming to any one of the three Precision Cancer Care locations in Lawrence, Ottawa, and Chanute. It is well established and can be validated by patients when they go for consultations, the cost of their care is significantly diminished at our facilities compared to hospital-based radiation oncology facilities and without any sacrifice in quality of services.

We encourage you to come here for a second opinion and compare the cost of care and the compassionate staff who will be providing it with those of centers in Kansas City. Just to be clear, the Federal Government, Medicare rules allow hospitals like the University of Kansas and Shawnee Mission Medical Center to charge 30-50% more for the exact services that we provide at Precision Cancer Care. We know they can and we know they will.

Well-Intentioned Family and Friends Create Hardship for Patients

Patients frequently come to our center excited to receive state-of-the-art cancer treatment services, which may be less than a few miles from their home. Unfortunately, family members or friends will urge them to the point of guilt creating fear, uncertainty, and doubt in their decision to get care locally so that they will go to Kansas City to providers such as KU with the false promise of receiving better care. The reality is all board certified physicians are treating with the same techniques, the same medical standards of care, and equal experience levels and knowledge.

The equipment in Lawrence is state-of-the-art and is identical to the same treatment machines utilized in the Kansas City area. Specifically, our linear accelerators provide intensity modulated radiation therapy with image guidance and can treat patients with stereotactic radiosurgery. While these machines go by various names such as TrueBeam, CyberKnife, Gamma Knife, the end result and the treatment plan developed by the physician and his team of specialists, including the medical physicist, are virtually identical. A friend or family member may have had a good experience at KU Medical Center and so they urge patients to go through, which ultimately results in hardship through time, cost, and effort utilizing precious time and energy to get care that is equivalent. Dr. Slane and I both trained at NCI designated cancer centers; Dr. Slane at the University of Arizona, myself at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

I love seeing patients back after they have gone to KU for a second opinion, and they are thrilled by the convenience of our facility, the quality of our care, the friendliness of our staff, and the assurance and knowledge that our cure rates are equal to anyone in Kansas City. There is evidence that when patients have to travel longer distances for their care, their outcomes are inferior.

Designation: Good News for Kansas and Lawrence patients

I was very proud of my alma mater this summer. The National Cancer Center designation for the KU Cancer Center recognizes what Kansans have known for some time. There’s great medical care locally. Yes, cancer patients have been traveling to St. Louis, Iowa, Denver and really all over the country seeking treatment in new trials, but there’s now third-party validation that for more than a decade, Kansans have had high-quality cancer treatment.

The designation is expected to bring new opportunities for patients fighting cancer.  The designation means more research trials on treatments and new interest from pharmaceutical companies testing new medications.

I have had a few people ask, “What does the designation mean for patients getting treatment in Lawrence?” My response is “It is good news for Kansans and even better news for Lawrence residents”.

The opportunities to participate in research trials for new treatments don’t require patients to drive to Kansas City for radiation therapy.  Much like physicians coordinate a patient’s care currently with procedures and treatments conducted at various locations but all the reporting and imaging being shared with the ordering physician, patients will be able to participate in trials and still remain in Lawrence for therapy.

I offer my congratulations to KU Cancer Center on receiving the national designation and showcasing Kansas as a premier cancer treatment provider.  I look forward to the opportunities our residents will have and I wish the Cancer Center the best as it strives for the next goal – obtaining comprehensive status.