I am waiting for my death, says cancer patient
A SOWETO woman who has cancer in various organs has given up the will to live after a medical aid rejected her requests for chemotherapy treatment.
The woman's doctor has made several applications since last month requesting the Government Employees Medical Scheme (Gems) to fund the patient's Erbitux treatment.
The woman claimed to have R160,000 in her medical aid savings and the Erbitux treatment costs about R100,000.
However, Gems said they did not cover Erbitux because there was no scientific proof showing that the drug offered a long-term solution.
"I don't have life anymore. Gems will decline the treatment until I die. I'm in pain," said the mother of three, who asked to remain anonymous. "I've lost friends because nobody wants to visit a severely sick person. My sickness is also affecting my children. I'm just sitting here waiting for my death."
The woman, a school teacher who has been on sick leave for the last two years, was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2006 and Gems paid for her operation and chemotherapy. She went into remission.
Last year her doctor, Malik Gulzar, discovered the cancer had returned and had spread to her lungs and liver.
"We can only cure 60% of the cancer tumour and unfortunately in most cases it doesn't completely leave the body," said Gulzar, a radiation oncologist.
Gems executive for communication and member affairs Liziwe Nkonyana said they did not cover the Erbitux treatment regardless of how much their members have in their account.