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Cancer Treatment Centers of America?

Posts: 19
Joined: Feb 2011

I have been diagnosed with neck cancer recently. I have a large cancerous tumor behind and below my right ear. A biopsy confirmed the tumor is cancerous but neither CAT, MRI nor PET scan can locate the cancer origin. I will be seeing a ENT this Monday (02-21-11) for additional scoping. I live in Central Arizona and there is a cancer center nearby (Arizona Oncology). I've met with an Oncologist there already (referral to the ENT).
My problem is that the team of doctors (surgeon, oncologist and ENT) that I have at my disposal have separate offices and practices is very difficult and very time consuming to get make appointments in a reasonable amount of time (I could go several weeks between appointments). I've spoken to CTCA and understand that they have all the specialist "In House". That is what really impressed me. Now, I know that CTCA is a "For Profit" organization. I've read the CSN bulletin board and I've read the "Pros and Cons" about them. My insurance will not cover CTCA because of being "Out of Network" but CTCA has told me that they will adjust the cost to meet "In Network" costs.

I'm just not sure what to do. I welcome constructive opinions only. Please, no ranting or raving just thoughts and opinions. Thanks

Posts: 356
Joined: Feb 2010

Are there any medical universities around you? I went to University of Chicago for my care and they were in network for my plan. If you dont like students poking and prodding that option might not be for you. LOL Have you checked with your insurance as far as a treatment plan goes? Ours had an on call nurse to help coordinate things, we didn;t use this option much as all our Doc;s answered all of our questions.
Does CTCA know what the out of network reimbursement would be? I dont believe I would not trust that statement of theirs. I know what my insurance company paid on my behalf, even after contracted prices etc. So I would not expect CTCAs costs to be much lower. Sorry I couldn't help more.
Wishes & Prayers on your treatment decision

Posts: 19
Joined: Feb 2011

Thanks for the reply Dave. Arizona does have a university medical center with a cancer center in Tucson, Arizona. The distance from where I live is about 250 miles one way. I really can't find anything about them. I understand that if I go with radiation, chemo or both I might have to travel once or twice a day for treatment. I have no family nor friends in the Tucson area in which I could live with. I'm unfazed about medical student's poking and prodding me though. I had a female student a while back check my prostrate and check me for hernia, so my dignity has been lost already to a medical student. I've spoke with the my insurance provider and they never mentioned a specific cancer treatment plan. I assume they would have mentioned it. I can call them back on Monday (02-21-11) and ask. Before I really get serious about CTCA and travel to Chicago I want to see the paperwork. According to them, my travel is free and I will have to pay $75.00 for the 3 day stay. They also explained that during my stay, I would meet with a team who would would go over my treatment options (I've already had a CAT scan, MRI and PET scan). I was told by them that this visit could be considered a 2nd opinion. Thanks, you did give me a few things to think about and research. Take Care....Thank You for your Thoughts. Terry

forme's picture
Posts: 1163
Joined: Aug 2010

Hi Terry,
I do not know where you live in Arizona, but maybe it would be worth a drive to find a really great place within your insurance network.
Mayo Clinic has a wonderful reputation and has a location in Arizona. They have a special department for H/N cancer. They are near Scottsdale/Phoenix.
I would check them out before any final plan is made.
Good luck with what ever choice you make.
BTW, I live in CA and travel to Houston, MD Anderson for my treatments.I wanted to go where I felt the best for me would be.
Take care

Posts: 19
Joined: Feb 2011

Thank you Lisha... I did follow your advice concerning Arizona's Mayo Clinic. I determined/discovered that the Mayo is covered by my insurance plan. I did look into MD Anderson but discovered that my insurance and it's Texas affilliates were not "In Network" with them. I read a lot of great things about that facility.

Thank you for help and advice.


MarineE5's picture
Posts: 861
Joined: Dec 2005


Much like Dave said. Is there a Teaching Hospital close by? Usually they would be "In Network". We have found that each insurance policy is different. You could belong to a Big Insurance company, but they could have 100 different policies. Research your policy. You have already been told by your insurance company that they will not pay for you to go to CTCA. Even if CTCA says they will adjust their rates, it will cost you out of pocket alot more then if you stayed within Network.

Our Insurance company had a clause that stated we could go outside of Network, but they would only pay 70% of the cost, so the other 30% was on us if we chose to go that route. We were directed to a Teaching Hospital by my local ENT and that was the best move for me.

My Best to You and Everyone Here

Posts: 19
Joined: Feb 2011

Thanks Marine (former Army here, son is currently serving in Iraq). You gave me good advice and information to research. Thanks again, Terry

ratface's picture
Posts: 1311
Joined: Aug 2009

I too was impressed with their ads and claims. I called them and asked them if they had a team that could treat me. Guesss what, head and neck cancer only affects 4% of the population. They said that the ENT was nearby and they would shuttle me back and forth. Now this is called "Head and Neck Cancer" That's the guy/girl you want on staff. Whereever you go, and travel if you have to, Get a dedicated team in one location at a major medical world class facility. If that Is CTCA then you are good to go.

Posts: 19
Joined: Feb 2011

Thanks Ratface... Every comment or responce I have received gave me more insight, guidance or help dealing with this cancer that I have in me.

Thank you for your time and effort.


Hondo's picture
Posts: 6573
Joined: Apr 2009

My advice is not to mess with CTCA but go to the Mayo Clinic there in Arizona, I have been there and it is a great place.

All the best to you

Posts: 19
Joined: Feb 2011

Thanks Hondo! After some research and some navaigation through my health insurance's website I did determine that I can be seen and treated at the Phoenix Mayo Cancer Clinic. Depending on my ENT results I will then need to decide if I travel to Mayo or I stay locally.

Thanks again.....


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