Stephanie Wurdock Lindsey
“I hope my story will help inspire other patients facing the same unfair barriers to care I faced to keep fighting for proton therapy. No cancer patient should be denied the care they have paid for and rightly deserve.”
As a four-time Super Lawyers “Rising Star,” I’m used to pleading a case and making an argument on behalf of my clients. But when my doctor told me I had Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma last year, and my insurer subsequently denied payment for the proton therapy my doctor recommended, I was speechless.
Following surgery to remove the lump in my neck, my doctor said proton therapy was the best course of care. According to my medical team, proton therapy would protect the vital structures surrounding the tumor from radiation exposure while giving me a better chance for a long, healthy life.
I couldn’t believe it when my insurance company denied my coverage three times, calling it “experimental” despite the wealth of evidence that it works! Even though their internal radiation oncologist agreed with my doctors that I would benefit from proton therapy, I was forced to appeal to an Independent External Review agency.
If the Independent External Review ruled against me, I would have no choice but to undergo the traditional radiation that I feared. I wrote a passionate plea for the services. My doctors submitted a letter, my records, and medical literature. Within 72 hours, we had our answer: THE PREVIOUS DENIAL IS HEREBY OVERTURNED.
Six days later I was on my way to undergo proton therapy treatment! I am so proud of this victory, not just because of what it means for me personally, but because maybe – just MAYBE– this will help improve access for other cancer patients who are in need of proton therapy treatment.
I recently completed six weeks of proton therapy treatments and am recovering well at home. My treatment was uneventful and my side effects are mild compared to what they could have been with traditional radiation. I hope my story will help inspire other patients facing the same unfair barriers to care I faced to keep fighting for proton therapy. No cancer patient should be denied the care they have paid for and rightly deserve.