So the next step in my "journey" is a test called an Oncotype DX. It's an amazing test that actually looks at your genes to determine whether you are likely (or not) to have a recurrence of breast cancer. You end up with a score between 0 and 100. If you have a low score, between 0 and 18, you are at low risk for recurrence and won't really benefit from chemo. If you have a high score, over 31, you are at higher risk for recurrence and would benefit from chemo. And, of course, if you are in the middle, with a score of 18-31, you are in the gray area. You might benefit, and you might not. Here is a huge amount of information on this test. It sounds amazing, doesn't it?
My oncologist ordered the test, and I got a call from Genomic Health, the company (the only company) that does this test. Can you say "monopoly, " kids? The nice woman on the phone told me she wasn't trying to confuse or scare me, but that the test costs $3800 and that insurance companies don't necessarily pay for it. But she assured me that they probably would pay, and if they refuse, the company would challenge their refusal.
She also told me that they have a program to reduce or eliminate the fee, if you do have to pay. This made me feel pretty strange, since we could pay if we needed to. But I'm sure there are many people out there who couldn't. What's ironic about the situation is that insurance companies would save a bundle if people didn't get unnecessary chemo, so they should be happy about the test. They should be running to pay for this test. But apparently that isn't the case.
After hanging up the phone, my first thought was to buy stock in Genomic Health. Maybe we can benefit financially from this ridiculous situation.