The term medical tourism is the practice of travelling from your country to another country for medical care, this is not limited to someone seeking conventional treatments such as hip resurfacing, spine fusion, knee replacement, heart bypass, lap band, cosmetic surgeries, or dental treatments.
Many people are going out of their country today to seek “unconventional” medical tourism treatments such as those for cancer. Cancer patients may be sent to abroad by low prices but what remains the prime motivator is the easy accessibility to the latest medical technology at the overseas cancer treatment hospitals.
Comparing the United State to other Countres Abroad
Without any doubt, the United State is the best of the latest medical technologies and the country invests heavily in cancer researches. This development has provided remedies for many irremediable diseases, thereby prolonging and improving the lives of critically ill patients. However, the technological advancements remain beyond the means of those who lack health insurance, simply because of the price tag at which they come, in the United States anyway.
In-country like India, Singapore and Turkey, for instance, not only is the same state-of-the-art medical technologies being used, the cancer treatments are offered at a much lesser price making these countries more accessible to a greater part of the patients. It is not uncommon, therefore, to see a surgeon in Asia working behind the gamma knife or the CyberKnife or the da Vinci robotic surgical system, treating patients from all over the world and offering their services at a much-discounted rate as compared with the United States rates.
The Common Cancers and Required Medical Treatment Abroad
Cancer hospitals abroad treat all types of cancers. Though most types of cancers are suitable for medical tourism treatment, the patient’s candidacy can only be decided on an individual basis. The more common ones that patients go abroad to cure are prostate cancer, breast cancer and thyroid cancer. There are many types of cancer therapies that are available today. Some of the treatments are surgery, radiotherapy (RT), chemotherapy, palliative therapy, etc.
The specific cancer treatment plan designed by the foreign doctor will depend on
- Type of cancer
- Stage of the Cancer
- Whether it has metastasized to other parts of the body
- The patient’s overall physical health, and so on.
The doctor may decide to give a combination of various types of therapies to increase the effectiveness of the treatment for the patient of medical tourism.
Following are some examples of cancer treatments given to patients for medical tourism to remove cancer from the body and to treat the symptoms of the cancer disease
- Surgical resection of the affected organ followed by radiotherapy or chemotherapy to remove any remaining cancer cells.
- Depending on distant metastases state and the pathology report, the doctor might use palliative or aggressive radiation therapy.
- A high dose IMRT of primary and lymph nodes (LNs).
Issues with Seeking Cancer Treatment on medical Tourism
The quality of care offered to patients on medical tourism is on par with what is available in the United States. The treatment quality is not a concern. But what might be of concern is the duration of the cancer treatment. When you go on medical tourism for a surgery such as a hip resurfacing or heart surgery, you usually need to spend not more than 2 to 3 weeks in the country. That is true for most of the procedures you seek abroad.
In the case of cancer treatment, the duration of the treatment is a big concern. The treatment plan that the oncologist or the doctor designs can run over a period of several months. This means longer stays for the international patient and his companion which in turn translates to higher expenditure on accommodation. To resolve this and to generate more savings, Healthbase recommends seeking long-term accommodation in service apartments instead of hotels as the former cost much less.
Even with higher expenses on accommodation factored into the cost, the resulting savings on treating cancer abroad can amount to approximately 40-80% when compared with the cost of treatment in the United States. For an accurate cost estimate and arrangement of cancer treatment abroad, check out the Healthbase website. The website is a medical tourism facilitator that connects patients to high-quality healthcare in the United States and overseas for a fraction of the typical cost of care in the United States, Canada and the UK.
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