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$93,000 w/o the coupon
Old 05-07-2011, 10:06 PM   #1
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$93,000 w/o the coupon

So, look here: there's a company (and I own a little tiny bit of this company as a stockholder) that's come up with a procedure dealing with stage 3 prostate cancer. The procedure costs a mere $93,000 (but, if you are a stockholder, in lieu of dividends they send you 10% off coupons for the procedure. OK, OK, I'm just kidding about the coupons). The side affect/effect(?) of the treatment is the equivalent to a very mild case of the flu lasting about three days. The median (not the mean--thanks for the correction, arebelspy) success rate is four months of life over not using the procedure. (I'm pretty close to getting this right). Anyhow, the gamble is: $93,000 for getting to live somewhere between next Tuesday, up to, let's say a year. Do you feel lucky? If you were in reasonably good health except for the pesky cancer, would you spend the $93,000 out of pocket?
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Old 05-07-2011, 10:12 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redduck
. The mean (not average) success rate is four months of life over not using the procedure. ?
Mean IS average. Did you mean the median is 4 months?
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Old 05-07-2011, 10:42 PM   #3
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DW and I have already had this conversation. If I were ever to get to the point that it would cost me (actually my DW as my survivor) a year to a year and a half of normal living expenses for maybe a month or two of good days and a couple to three months of pretty bad days, then I don't want it, and would prefer that she have the money to use to live her life. On the other hand, if I had millions upon millions of dollars and my good uncle in Washington was going to take it away when I passed, then you bet I'll take it...I figure the last couple months ( in that situation) are gonna be pretty bad anyway, so why not have a good month or two.

The way I see it, I'd prefer to leave it to my survivors, but if I can't, and since ya can't take it with ya why not? So it will depend on the circumstances at that time.

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Old 05-07-2011, 10:43 PM   #4
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If you were in reasonably good health except for the pesky cancer, would you spend the $93,000 out of pocket?
Well, I'm not a guy but if I were given a choice between $93,000 and any amount of continued life that I wouldn't otherwise have, I'd send them a check pronto.
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Old 05-07-2011, 10:50 PM   #5
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Sure. I might even be willing to buy 4 months for $93,000, but the deal you describe is better than that. You're in good health, but surely some whose very short added time were not in good health and they will fall below the mean, so your additional lifespan would likely fall above the mean on the distribution.

You might be interested in Stephen Jay Gould's description of his thinking about his cancer prognosis: http://www.phoenix5.org/articles/GouldMessage.html
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Old 05-07-2011, 10:59 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by arebelspy View Post
Mean IS average. Did you mean the median is 4 months?
"Median" is what I meant. Thank you.
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Old 05-07-2011, 11:24 PM   #7
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Sure. I might even be willing to buy 4 months for $93,000, but the deal you describe is better than that. You're in good health, but surely some whose very short added time were not in good health and they will fall below the mean, so your additional lifespan would likely fall above the mean on the distribution.

You might be interested in Stephen Jay Gould's description of his thinking about his cancer prognosis: Stephen Jay Gould, The Median Is Not The Message (article)
Thanks for that link. I always wondered what happened to him. Good message, too.
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Old 05-07-2011, 11:43 PM   #8
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... so your additional lifespan would likely fall above the mean on the distribution.
Uh, I posted too hastily. While there might be something to what I said, I'm doubting that it was relevant. I seem to have assumed that the $93,000 buys an increase in median survival time from 0 to 4 months. But that's not right. It's an increase of 4 months over whatever the median was without the treatment, as was clearly stated. Sorry about that.
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Old 05-08-2011, 12:07 AM   #9
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If there was a cure for cancer, but it cost $100 million per person (or any other obscene number), what would happen? What if it were $1 billion? After all, the company that invented it will have a patent. What's to stop them from charging a ridiculous amount of money for it? If the government takes over the company and decides to dole out the cure, what's to stop them from doing it with all other companies? Nobody ever seems to have a good answer for these questions. Damned if you do, damned if you don't...
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Old 05-08-2011, 01:42 AM   #10
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The median (not the mean--thanks for the correction, arebelspy) success rate is four months of life over not using the procedure.
Before I even consider the $ question, I would first ask how them came up with the median success rate.

I think there are enough cases out there to prove that Doctors' end-of-life predictions are mostly out of wack to begin with. We have (I hope) all heard of people living 2, 5 even 10 years past their doctors' given time.
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Old 05-08-2011, 08:04 AM   #11
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A more interesting question, and more difficult to answer:

If your spouse or partner were to make the decision, what would they choose?
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Old 05-08-2011, 09:07 AM   #12
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If you were in reasonably good health except for the pesky cancer, would you spend the $93,000 out of pocket?
I don't believe I understand what reasonably good health along with pesky cancer would be like. My answer would boil down to a combination of (1) how it affects my wife and family, (2) quality of remaining life gained and (3) finances.
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Old 05-08-2011, 10:03 AM   #13
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A more interesting question, and more difficult to answer:

If your spouse or partner were to make the decision, what would they choose?
I'm guessing the spouse or partner would almost aways choose to spend the money (on the procedure).

I don't even want to think about what the children would choose.
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Old 05-08-2011, 10:45 AM   #14
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Personally, I would have to have reasonable assertions that the 4 months would be quality extension of life. I don't fear death nearly as much as living a life extremely sick waiting to die. On a broader scale, it seems like technology is coming up with more "partial" cures that come with extreme financial costs. If insurance companies eventually feel compelled to pay for these procedures, then the spiral of premium costs will continue faster and faster.
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Old 05-08-2011, 11:10 AM   #15
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I think I'd spend the money on some really great vacations and memories of a lifetime rather than spend the money on a procedure that really is only extending life a few months. I'd take my chances that attitude and healthy living would help me just the same as the $93k procedure would.
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Old 05-08-2011, 11:17 AM   #16
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If there was a cure for cancer, but it cost $100 million per person (or any other obscene number), what would happen? What if it were $1 billion? After all, the company that invented it will have a patent. What's to stop them from charging a ridiculous amount of money for it? If the government takes over the company and decides to dole out the cure, what's to stop them from doing it with all other companies? Nobody ever seems to have a good answer for these questions. Damned if you do, damned if you don't...
Well, it's a problem that I hope we get to face someday. I'm sure that day will come sooner if the financial rewards are greater.

But, to the thought experiment: The company would charge at a level to maximize overall profits, and that wouldn't be a billion dollars per patient (unless their cost to make the magic potion was a few hundred million per dose). They'd have to figure that insurance companies and the government would conveniently categorize the hyper-expensive treatment as "experimental" (and thus not covered) until the costs came down. There would be some cost-per-patient that would maximize their profit overall.
In addition, if the company were seen as abusing their patent rights, I'd imagine that a competitor with a slight modification of the treatment might get more favorable treatment in patent courts. It shouldn't be that way, but I think as long as there are humans in the process, it will be somewhat subjective.

Regarding $93K for 4 more months (more or less)--I don't know. We'd have to be at that point to say. But it does put things in perspective: "If I'd pay $90K for 120 days of living, am I doing everything I can right now to maximize the joy and value of the days I've got "for free"? I probably have some work to do in this regard.
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Old 05-08-2011, 11:47 AM   #17
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A more interesting question, and more difficult to answer:

If your spouse or partner were to make the decision, what would they choose?
Why is this more interesting?

Does the spouse have more standing than oneself in life or death bets?

Ha
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Old 05-08-2011, 05:32 PM   #18
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Regarding $93K for 4 more months (more or less)--I don't know. We'd have to be at that point to say. But it does put things in perspective: "If I'd pay $90K for 120 days of living, am I doing everything I can right now to maximize the joy and value of the days I've got "for free"? I probably have some work to do in this regard.
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Old 05-08-2011, 06:14 PM   #19
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If you were in reasonably good health except for the pesky cancer, would you spend the $93,000 out of pocket?
I am by no means very knowledgeable about Prostate Cancer, but in Stage 3 it has already spread to other organs of the body & by Stage 4 it is wrecking havoc all over the system.

My father died of Cancer that started in the prostate & all I can say is that when it was his time to go, our family was grateful because he suffered so much. The cancer had gone & traveled throughout his body & he had a colostomy bag & it ate up his brain so he really could not think straight (confused) or communicate much...really sad.
How confident are the results of this treatment that the quality of life would still be good?

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Old 05-08-2011, 09:43 PM   #20
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If your spouse or partner were to make the decision, what would they choose?
"It's only money. Do you take credit cards?"
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