I was told I had a tumor in my breast when I went in for my annual mammogram. I never expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer, but a 3D mammogram showed a tumor and a later biopsy revealed that it was first stage breast cancer and I would need to pursue treatment.
After completing a biopsy, the oncologist informed me of my treatment options, which included surgery combined with either traditional radiation, a balloon implant or proton therapy radiation. My oncologist recommended proton therapy over the other treatment options because it would significantly reduce the amount of radiation necessary to target the cancer and decrease the risk of harm to other tissues and organs like my lungs, heart and esophagus.
My treatment started in the middle of January and after two weeks of proton therapy, my doctor informed me that I was responding very well and the cancer could not be seen on tests. I am so grateful to have had the option of proton therapy and have the ability to maintain a normal life while receiving treatment.
After originally being denied insurance coverage, I applied to be included in a clinical trial and thankfully was covered. However, not everyone has the option to be included in a clinical trial and that should not be deciding factor in receiving coverage or not. Several Oklahomans are experiencing insurance coverage denial for proton therapy radiation, even though it is the best treatment option for their specific cancer and recommended by their doctor.
All Oklahomans deserve to have access and coverage to the best available treatment option for them in our state without unnecessary insurance battles over a treatment that is FDA approved.
That is why this legislative session, state Rep. Marian Cooksey and a number of her colleagues introduced House Bill 1515 to the Oklahoma State House of Representatives. This bill would mean Oklahoma doctors, not insurance companies, would make cancer treatment decisions with patients.
I respectfully ask state lawmakers to listen to their constituents who are paying ever higher insurance premiums only to be denied care when cancer strikes.
Please join the battle against inadequate cancer treatment coverage and help make a positive change in the lives of many Oklahomans who deserve to focus on fighting their cancer, not their insurance company. It is time to contact your state representative and senator, and ask them to support House Bill 1515.
NOTE: Logan is a 65-year-old breast cancer survivor from Northeast Oklahoma City.