After WBRZ report, cancer patient receives treatment for cancer
BATON ROUGE – After a report by WBRZ's Chris Nakamoto last week, a cancer patient is now receiving treatment at a clinical trial that could possibly cure her.
Daphne Spears, 47, is a mother of four, wife and a nurse at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. Spears was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. After a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation, Spears went into remission for about two years. In 2016, the cancer returned, spreading to her lungs and bones.
Spears' oncologist suggested she go to Houston's MD Anderson Cancer Center to participate in a clinical trial after she underwent several months of chemotherapy. She was approved as a good candidate for the trial in May, but her insurance company denied her participation.
Documents provided to The Investigative Unit showed that Spears was denied because the trial was not administered through one of her insurance company's sponsors.
The Investigative Unit stepped in and contacted Spears' insurance company, UMR and United Healtcare. UMR is a division of United Healthcare. The company received a waiver to discuss Spear's case with WBRZ and later that afternoon Spears was approved for the clinical trial.
"The criteria are met and requested services are covered," a United Healthcare employee told Spears.
"As soon as we discovered, on our own, that this was a registered clinical trial, we approved coverage for Ms. Spears in it," United Healthcare later released to WBRZ in a statement.
Spears sent WBRZ pictures showing her smiling while receiving her first round of treatment at the clinical trial in Houston on Thursday.
"If it wasn't for their support, I couldn't be here today," Spears told WBRZ last week. "For my family and this neighborhood I live in, it has been overwhelming."