There is a new site is dedicated to the extraordinary group of women I have mentioned often here. It is the beautiful League of Extraordinary Chinese Women. Twenty-five percent of breast-cancer patients are diagnosed with the HER2 type, the hardest to treat. Incurable, it can only be kept at bay. By getting expensive treatment and supporting each other’s survival for as long as the disease can be held off, these women have not only stood up to the disease’s obstacles but also to the difficulties of the Chinese approach to Western medicine. In China, medical care for cancer still lacks proper identification and treatment. Doctors are reluctant to share truthful information about diagnoses because they fear their patients will refuse treatment or commit suicide to save their families money. In China, where medical costs can exceed 8 times a year’s salary and suffering from a disease leads to stigma and disgrace on one’s family and self, many cancer sufferers find suicide a valid choice. The consequences of this medical culture are deadly: in the last ten years, cancer deaths have increased more than 50% among women in China. By resisting their illness as long as they have and by supporting each other in a time of crisis, The League has fought through more than a deadly form of breast cancer. They have suffered through inaccurate information about their condition and deliberate misinformation given to them by their doctors. They have dealt with incorrect treatments that have cost them dearly in money and health. They have watched their supportive family members lose their jobs to care for them. And several members have had to come to terms with their family’s abandonment. Ms. Yue, who has recently been experiencing new lymphatic pain. She has refused to see a physician as she knows that her next round of treatment will cost an impossible-to-get $40,000USD for a year of treatment. Herceptin, manufactured by Roche, is costly but the only drug with known to be effective in treating her stage of cancer. A comparison of Chinese medical costs to American ones: Ms. Yue needs $40,000 US dollars for her next treatment. In China this sum is the equivalent of eight years of an average Chinese worker’s total income. Another woman in The League needs an MRI. While the cost in China is only $1,700 USD, this amount is a year’s total salary for her husband. As for insurance, most Chinese people not working for the government must make do without, as they cannot afford it. Hospitals remain financially and legally insulated: if you cannot pay for treatment, you will not not receive treatment. You will die. 

Several sites are in the works that will assist the League. I will keep you updated.

Be Sociable, Share!