- Question from RoseL: I'm a TV producer and travel frequently, often to developing countries. It's a demanding job, long hours. I will start on AC, followed by T. I have no idea what to expect and would like to continue my current project which will involve a lot of travel. Any ideas?
- Answers - Ruth Oratz, M.D., F.A.C.P. This is similar to some of the other questions that we heard earlier this evening about what the anticipated side effects of treatment might be and how they would impact on the ability to work; in this case specifically, travel abroad. The most salient factors will be the risk of infection, the development of fatigue, and perhaps some nausea, particularly related to the AC part of treatment. You should review your treatment schedules in detail with your physician or oncology nurse and coordinate that with your anticipated work and travel plans. It is likely that you will be able to continue working, but it is also likely that you will need to make some accommodation in your work schedule so as to receive your chemotherapy on time and without interruption. Your doctor and nurse should be able to map out for you the dates of treatment and which days you might be able to expect to feel well and which days you might expect to need rest or that you won't function at your highest ability.
- Irene Card When you are abroad, most health insurance carriers will provide a benefit for medical care that you may require. It is important to get an itemized bill with a diagnosis code and a procedure code. Make sure you write down the exchange rate compared to the dollar. When you get back to the States and submit the claim, be sure to address your claim to the Foreign Claims department. This will expedite payment. I might add that there are some folks that intentionally go to a foreign country to seek treatment that is not available in the United States. Such treatment will not be covered by any health insurance plan in the U.S. because the treatment has not been approved by the FDA. Furthermore, I am assuming that you are under the age of 65. But if that is a mistake, you should know that Medicare is only good in the United States. Hopefully you will have group insurance from your employer to pick up where Medicare leaves off, or if you work for a company with more than 20 employees, your group insurance will be primary and you should not experience any difficulty getting claims paid for medical services rendered outside of the country.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Working During Treatment featured Barbara Hoffman, J.D., Irene Card, and moderator Ruth Oratz, M.D., F.A.C.P. answering your questions about the legal, financial, physical, and emotional aspects of working during breast cancer treatment.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in September 2007.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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