Guest post by Lori Shea, Owner, Guatemala Medical Travel. Lori first arrived in Rio Dulce, Guatemala aboard a sailboat in 2005 and had a home and business there for two years. For more information on Cancer therapies visit her website.
An emotional diagnosis – on both sides of the scale
Just say the word…. “Cancer” ….and all sorts of emotions arise. Maybe we remember the sadness and loss of a co-worker or neighbor. Sometimes the grief strikes closer to home, like my husband, or your sister, or worse, a child. But more and more, we are experiencing another set of emotions regarding cancer treatment today: Hope, bravery, triumph, relief and gratitude.
Statistics are high – is health insurance a protection from expense?
In the United States, one in six people is expected to suffer some form of cancer in their lifetime. With this sobering statistic regularly in the news, you have to wonder how this disease might affect your lifestyle, family relationships, and retirement fund. Determining the most effective course of treatment is not always a clear choice, as it is the result of extensive testing and careful planning by a team of cooperating specialists. Having insurance is no guarantee that you will be protected from major, life-changing expenses. Patients with insurance are thinking carefully before agreeing to treatment, because out-of-pocket co-payments for the drugs alone could easily run $15,000 to $30,000 a year.
Quality care in a treatment plan, reasonable cost
Radiotherapy and brachytherapy
In Guatemala, we are proud to offer three Cancer Treatment Centers and top-notch oncologists, each with a separate focus, that are able to work in conjunction as a team, together with the surgeons, to impact the patient’s treatment plan toward a successful recovery.
Dr. Luis Linares of Hope Radiotherapy Center has over 25 years of experience performing 25,000 cancer-related procedures. From university studies in England, to extensive research and work at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and then as medical director of the New Orleans Cancer Center, he has brought his skills and expertise back home to us in Guatemala. Offering radiotherapy and brachytherapy, Hope International opened in 2010 with state-of-the-art cancer treatment technology which surpasses the quality available in 60% of cancer hospitals in the United States.
Radiotherapy involves directing a specialized external beam into the tumor to diminish or destroy it, while brachytherapy is a time-release method of implanting seeds that release radiation in specific daily doses. In both of the non-painful treatments, no surrounding tissue is damaged. At Hope International, eight weeks of radiotherapy treatment, with five sessions per week, costs around $10,000, compared to $50-90k in the U.S.
Dr. Luis M. Zetina Toache is a leading figure in Latin America in the field of chemotherapy. As medical director of Oncomedica Cancer Consultants since 2000, Dr. Zetina conducts high-level scientific research on new cancer drugs, here in Guatemala, fully supported by the FDA. He has participated in research protocols on Herceptin, Avastin, Tarceva, Xeloda and other drugs to successfully treat cancer with the latest advances in chemotherapy treatment methods.
Dr. Zetina is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the European Society of Medical Oncology, and of the Chemotherapy Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Dr. Ezra Greenspan of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. We are grateful to have the benefit of his many years of cutting-edge skills and research available to us here, in zone 15, Guatemala City.
Stem cell therapy
At Medi-Center Guatemala, Dr. Byron Sanchez, a well-published hematologist and oncologist, has been researching the possible benefits of stem cell treatments for his patients. Although success rates vary, we look forward to the day when this exciting biotech application could be the source of reliable long-term positive results.
All of the physicians agree that early detection is the best hope for a cure. Since it is more difficult to treat patients who may have been mishandled or misdiagnosed by other doctors, the most highly skilled cancer specialists agree that the personal situation of each patient must be carefully analyzed before deciding which treatment plan is best for that particular patient.
Why go to Guatemala for cancer therapy?
Many foreigners are taking advantage of cancer treatment options available in Guatemala because:
The costs can be five to ten times less expensive than in the United States or Europe.
All International Health Insurance from the United States is accepted in Cancer Hospitals in Guatemala.
No waiting list. Patients can begin treatments as son as they arrive to Guatemala.
Patient advócate. A constant companion is available in their Guatemala Medical Travel agent: a multi-lingual medical facilitator, driver, secretary, nurse, billing agent and personal advisor. Can you get this in the States?
The Human touch. In Guatemala, and all of Latin America, the patient receives the human touch, with respect and compassion that is missing in first world countries.
Superior medical care. Above all, international patients in Guatemala receive superior medical care from highly-skilled doctors and high-tech facilities that are right on par with the best in the world.
Again, early detection is the best hope for a cure – do it now. Colonoscopies, PET scans (nuclear imaging), skin biopsies, 4-dimentional ultrasound and lab testing with the latest diagnostic instrumentation are available now — quick, effective and affordable — through your friends at Guatemala Medical Travel. Working as a team, we can beat the odds and count on experiencing all the pleasures and gratitude that come with living longer and healthier.
To watch an insightful and instructive video on Guatemala Medical Travel with interviews of both Doctors and Patients, Click Here