What Is Medulloblastoma?
Medulloblastoma otherwise known as Primitive Neuroectodermal tumour or PNET for short, is one of the most common brain tumours found in children. Worldwide, it represents at least 20 percent of all forms of childhood brain tumours.
Medulloblastoma affects children from the ages between three to eight years old. It has also been found that it is more common in males than females. Medulloblastoma occurs in the posterior fossa region of the brain. It is an aggressive form of tumour, which can spread in the spinal column via the cerebrospinal fluid.
What Are The Treatment Options For Medulloblastoma?
The most common and immediate treatment option is surgery. In an attempt to completely remove the tumour surgically, this treatment aims to treat a child with minimal harm or damage to the brain.
Following surgery, depending on the results of the MRI scan, parents will then have the option for radio therapy with chemotherapy. This is recommended when the tumour is still evident or not all of the tumour was successfully removed.
Children greater than four years of age who have had a complete tumour resection, receive a combination of cranio-spinal (brain and spine) radiation, followed by a four month course of intensive chemotherapy. Because of the significant effects of radiotherapy on an infant’s developing brain, children less than three years of age receive high dose chemotherapy immediately following surgery, with the aim to delay or even obliterate the need for radiation treatment.
Cost Of Chemotherapy For Medulloblastoma
The cost of chemotherapy in Australia for Medulloblastoma vaires depending on where treatment is facilitated. Medicare generally covers most of the cost in a public hospital environment. It is best to speak to your social worker or financial assistance in the hospital for further information.
There are several gap payments that you need to consider as well. From 2009, medicare will only cover 85 percent of the cost, and therefore 15 percent of costs are known as your gap payments- costs that you will need to cover.
If your doctor if you visiting for treatment and consultation charges more than the scheduled fee outlined by medicare, your extra costs would be higher. This is set by each doctor and therefore it is best to speak to your doctor before receiving any treatment. The difference between what Medicare refunds and what your doctor charges is referred to as the out-of-pocket cost.
Parents will still require to pay for any prescription or drugs required for treatment, which can cost $100 each month or per visit, depending on what has been prescribed. For example, non-PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) cancer drugs can cost up to $5000 per month or a total of $10,000.
If you have been referred to a private hospital, the out of pocket costs varies between hospital. One of the main reasons why parents may decide to go with a private hospital as appose to a public hospital is the waiting list for treatment. In addition to this, if there is a specialist that you prefer, you may have to consider private health care instead.
Private health insurance companies can also assist minimizing costs such as dental, physiotherapy and ambulance services. It is best to speak to your insurer directly as this varies between companies. Although you may have private health insurance, there are still gap fees and excess amounts that will need to be covered by you. This can add up to thousands of dollars per month.
Recent changes in chemotherapy costs from chemists, means the government is cutting back on the overall spending of chemoterhapy drugs in public hospitals, making it difficult for patients who require treatment. As a result, this may affect when a patient can receive chemotherapy and how much will be covered through your public hospital under medicare.