Questions you should ask overseas cancer clinics

1.  What percentage of your treatments are for [type of] cancer?  What is your success rate for [type of] cancer?

– be prepared for fudge.  Sometimes clinics will say that their sample size is small, so it’s not fair to compile stats.  Or will say that the patients who come to them are mostly end-stage, so the success rate is not very good.  Or say that every patient is an individual, so it’s impossible to predict the outcome.  So if you want guarantees, chances are you won’t get them.

2.  How do you know what treatments are suitable?

– some clinics will use blood tests, like the RGCC chemosensitivity test which test for the sensitivity of your circulating tumour cells in the blood, to chemotherapeutic and natural substances.  This is a good thing.  Otherwise you could end up having treatments like Iscador (mistletoe) which may not work if your CTCs are not sensitive to them.  That’s money down the drain.  Some clinics will insist on pre-admission scans.  If they don’t, go ahead and get your own done.  You need up-to-date scans to act as a basis of comparison for whatever results you get from the treatments.  If you get the scan done overseas, it will cost more as it’s not covered by the NHS.

3.  Are the treatment plans personalised?

– do they use high dose IV C, hyperthermia, B17, iscador, ozone on everyone? How do they know these treatments are suitable?

4.  What tests do you use to show that the treatments are working?

– some clinics rely on Pet scans.  Some clinics will use blood tests or tumour markers.

5.  What is the cost of accommodation, food etc. (if separate)?

– some clinics include this in the overall charge.  Some charge a day rate if you go into the clinic for infusions.  So if you stay outside the clinic and don’t have infusions, you won’t have to pay the day rate and will save money that way.

6.  What is the ratio of staff to patients?

– you don’t want to end up at a clinic where you will be overlooked.  You want to have access to a doctor when you want it.

7.  Do you speak English?

– the best way to verify this is by phone call.  All German clinics will have English-speaking doctors, but my personal experience has been that I struggled to understand what some of the doctors were saying.

COSTS:

Also, to any cost estimate from any clinic, always add on a contingency of 25% to 50%.  When you get to the clinic, anything can happen, more tests may need to be run.  You may have to extend your stay.  You will invariably end up spending more than budgetted.  Make sure you have credit cards with good balances on them.

For German cancer clinics, expect to spend from Euro 5K to Euro 10K per week, depending on treatments and staging of cancer.

Also allow for about £1K for supplements that you will be given to bring home.

And don’t forget the airfare, and transport to-and-from the clinic, and day-trips out of the clinic.

Most clinics will design a treatment protocol based on a 3-week stay.  So that’s £15 to £30K for a 3-week stay, then add on a contingency of 25-50%, which adds up to £19 (lowest estimate) to £45K (bells and whistles option) for just 3 weeks!

Buyer beware – telephone consultations hidden costs

Finally, most clinics charge for telephone consultations.  I’m a bit miffed by that because they use this as a means of sifting out the wheat from the chaff, and doing sales talk.  So in effect, you’re paying for them to promote themselves.  Both Paracelsus Lustmuhle and Arcadia charge for their consultations.  I can understand why they charge – their doctors’ time is money, but even so.

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