Chemotherapy treatment. Describe the positive and negative benefits from the treatment, evidence of effectiveness, and the potential harm of a different treatment option. What strategies would you use to advocate for a legislative change in your state (FLORIDA) to influence insurance coverage for this treatment.



             Chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer using drugs that are destructive to malignant cells and tissues. It may be used as the main form of cancer treatment, as a follow up to kill remaining cancer cells or in shrinking tumors in preparation for other treatment options. One of the positive effects of this method is that it effectively destroys cancerous cells and significantly shrinks the size of malignant tumor. It is a highly viable option as the patient’s recovery is almost guaranteed as long as the treatment plan is followed to the letter (Earle, Tsai, Gelber, Weinstein, Neumann & Weeks, 2001). Although chemotherapy drugs are efficacious, they may also kill healthy cells resulting in numerous negative side effects such as nausea and vomiting, hair loss, decreased red blood causing shortness of breath, lower white blood cells count making the patient more susceptible to illness, and a shortage of platelets making the patient bleed for too long before clotting occurs. Chemotherapy sometimes also results in mouth and skin sores, fertility issues, memory loss and emotional changes in the patient. Despite these side effects, chemotherapy is evidently effective since it is effective in killing cancerous cells to prevent the ‘good’ cells from being infected.


            Other than chemotherapy, other cancer treatment options available to patients today include radiotherapy,   surgery, immunotherapy, targeted therapy and hormone therapy (Schofield, Carey, Love, Nehill & Wein, 2006). The main problems that are often associated with radiotherapy include skin problems, fatigue and long-term effects such as the recurrence of cancer later on in life. Similarly, in cancer surgery, the patient may experience the regrowth of the cancerous cells since the procedure only removes a small part of the cancerous mass. On the other hand, immunotherapy, which is treatment by stimulating the immune system, may cause flu-like symptoms and general malaise. As for targeted therapy, the most common problems include blood clotting, slow process of wound healing and high blood pressure. Lastly, hormone is increasingly being used as a treatment method, though it sometimes causes patient to experience tiredness, sweating and hormonal imbalance.

In my home state of Florida, cancer has become an epidemic. To best way to address it is by first and foremost ensuring that coverage of cancer treatment by insurance agencies and companies operating in the state is made mandatory (Ward, Halpern, Schrag, Cokkinides, DeSantis, Bandi & Jemal, 2008). I would ensure that this objective is reached by advocating for the passing a bill that prohibits any insurance company from carrying out any activities unless it provides cancer treatment coverage to all its clients. I would focus on promoting the view that this type of insurance coverage gives the beneficiary peace of mind during cancer diagnosis and that it provides faster and better access to treatment while increasing the likelihood of more Floridians going for cancer screening (Ayanian, Kohler, Abe & Epstein, 1993).


Ayanian, J. Z., Kohler, B. A., Abe, T. & Epstein, A. M. (1993). The relation between health insurance coverage and clinical outcomes among women with breast cancer. New England Journal of Medicine329(5), 326-331.

Earle, C. C., Tsai, J. S., Gelber, R. D., Weinstein, M. C., Neumann, P. J. & Weeks, J. C. (2001). Effectiveness of chemotherapy for advanced lung cancer in the elderly: Instrumental variable and propensity analysis. Journal of Clinical Oncology19(4), 1064-1070.

Schofield, P., Carey, M., Love, A., Nehill, C. & Wein, S. (2006). Would you like to talk about your future treatment options? Discussing the transition from curative cancer treatment to palliative care. Palliative medicine20(4), 397-406.

Ward, E., Halpern, M., Schrag, N., Cokkinides, V., DeSantis, C., Bandi, P. & Jemal, A. (2008). Association of insurance with cancer care utilization and outcomes. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians58(1), 9-31.

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