Valentina was diagnosed with fourth stage lung cancer in 2017. At that point, she was given just weeks to live. But we, her family, refused to give up. And so did she.
Because hers is a rare kind of cancer with specific genetic mutations, she was put on an oral chemo the cost of which was INR 52,000 for 28 tablets. This tablet worked wonderfully for her and her cancer went into remission for 2 years. During this time, Valentina lived to the fullest, taking up Interior Designing, an interest that she had ignored for years.
But as is the case with this disease, the cancer developed a resistance to the tablet, and it started spreading in her body again. We had to change the treatment to chemotherapy. This is when things started looking grim, as the cancer broke the blood-brain barrier and attacked her brain – multiple lesions were found in her brain and we had to immediately go for radiation therapy to the brain.
We also had to change the chemotherapy drug as the previous drug that she was on wasn’t working.
Three months later, in May 2020, after her initial radiation therapy to the brain, one more lesion was detected, again in her brain. We immediately opted for full brain radiation therapy again. Because the cancer was spreading, this meant that the chemotherapy drug that she was taking was not working.
The doctors have given us just one option now – to opt for oral chemo tablets. These tablets are priced at INR 200,000 for 30 tablets. She needs to take one every day. And medical insurance does not cover the cost because it is oral chemo and does not require any hospital visit or stay.
For my sister to get better, we have to continue this treatment for life. In the next 3 to 6 months, we need at least Rs. 30,00,000 to Rs. 48,00,000 to ensure that she can take the treatment without any gaps for at least 2 years.
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