From AP - News Headlines -

Illinois Law Seeks to Make Cancer Treatments More Affordable

Illinois is joining a growing number of states making oral chemotherapy treatments more affordable.

For years, cancer drugs were usually injected. But scientific advances have made oral treatment possible, and in many cases, preferred. The problem is they usually come with a higher cost and insurance policies will not always pick up the tab.

Governor Pat Quinn has signed a law that will require health coverage of both types of treatment at a similar cost to the patient. Supporters of the new law say it will improve the quality of care patients receive.

"As an oncologist, I see firsthand the struggles cancer patients go through as they fight this devastating disease," said Dr. Katherine Griem, chair of the American Cancer Society's Illinois chapter. "One thing they shouldn't have to struggle with is how they get the treatment they need."

Griem said the law, which will take effect in January, will give those fighting cancer one less thing to worry about.

Oral chemotherapy drugs are preferred for certain types of cancer. They are also part of the growing trend of so called 'smart drugs" that are designed to attack only cancer cells, which better protects the immune system. Griem said smart drugs target the cancer and have been found to result in fewer side effects. While they come with a higher price tag, they can also reduce therapy time and save on long term medical costs.

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