Death sentence Mascha seemed signed, insurer now reimburses treatment

“Okay, this is it then,” Mascha said aloud to her family after being told on Tuesday that her insurance company does not want to reimburse the so-called TIL therapy. The new therapy, performed at the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, would be a last chance to extend life. She is not allowed to pay for the therapy herself, it has to be paid through the insurance.

Exceptional situation

She was, as she herself tells RTL News, paralyzed. Then came the tears, the immense sadness, when she realized that she didn’t have long to live because of it. And that knowledge, with a 5-year-old toddler and a 5-month-old baby, is indigestible.

A day passed, Mascha recorded a video that went viral on TikTok and a conversation with RTL News followed. Yesterday, at the end of the day, she got some good news. “We have reviewed the request and although we normally do not reimburse this treatment, we still want to do so in her situation,” ASR told RTL Nieuws after questions about Mascha’s situation. Whether the application was initially rejected because there would be too little chance of a result – as Mascha says – a spokesperson does not want to say. “I can’t say anything about the patient file.”

What therapy is it?

Mascha has metastatic skin cancer. Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes (TIL therapy) has been devised for people like her: a new advanced and personalized treatment for people with metastatic melanoma who cannot be operated on and for whom previous treatment with immunotherapy has failed.

In TIL therapy, immune cells are grown from the patient’s tumor in the laboratory into billions of cells and then returned to the patient. This creates a personal medicine with billions of cells that can clear up the cancer cells. This allows the cancer to decrease or even disappear.

From the results of research into the effectiveness of TIL therapy, the Zorginstituut concludes that TIL therapy is proven effective care.

Bron: The Antoni van Leeuwenhoek

Mascha was told six years ago that metastases of a melanoma had been found in her body. The cancer was treated, but came back four times. Just like seven months ago, when she was pregnant with baby Tyler. Because Mascha had to be treated as soon as possible for the new metastases, she had to give birth earlier.

Tyler had a rocky start, but luckily he survived the premature birth. Mascha then received immunotherapy, a tough time in which she was ‘incredibly ill’. Without result: the treatment did not work. Now she only takes BRAF inhibitors, medicines to which your body becomes resistant. That can be within a few months or within a few years, but the outcome is the same: Mascha will die afterwards.

First tears, then anger

At least, that was the reality until her treating doctor at the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek indicated that there is another new therapy that she might benefit from. He therefore submitted a leniency request to the insurer: let Mascha receive this treatment and reimburse it.

For nine weeks she was uncertain whether she could hope for life extension or recovery, until that phone call on Tuesday. Tears came first, then anger. “Then I thought: this should not happen to me. I have two children, I have to fight until I drop.”

It TikTok video was recorded, thousands of people saw it, and interviews were held with the press. With result.

Although Diana, Mascha’s mother, still could not comprehend what the insurer had previously reported to the family: “The insurer would have found the success rate too low for the investment they had to make, about 150,000 euros. They have no idea what they do to people with such a message.”

‘Chances that her children will grow up with her’

Now that Mascha is allowed to receive the therapy, it is still unrealistic to think that she will recover completely with this treatment, says Diana. “Although there is even a small chance of that. Given her medical situation and past, I don’t expect that. But there is a real chance that this will reduce the cancer and extend her life: then she will at least see her children grow up. Then do they have a mother a little longer.”

Mascha is more positive: “If this works, there is a chance for total healing. And that is why I think and hope that it can happen.” By sharing her story, she also hopes that others will be helped. “And that health insurers will look further than just the numbers. That they will see the person behind the numbers.” In any case, Mascha is very happy that this has now happened in her case.

Source: RTL Nieuws by

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