PMB for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia
WHAT ARE PRESCRIBED MINIMUM BENEFITS? Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMBs) are defined by law. They are the minimum level of diagnosis, treatment, and care that your medical scheme must cover – and it must pay for your PMB condition/s from its risk pool and in full. There are medical interventions available over and above those prescribed for PMB conditions but your scheme may choose not to pay for them. A designated service provider (DSP) is a healthcare provider (e.g. doctor, pharmacist, hospital) that is your medical scheme’s first choice when you need treatment or care for a PMB condition. You can use a non-DSP voluntarily or involuntarily but be aware that when you choose to use a non-DSP, you may have to pay a portion of the bill as a co-payment. PMBs include 270 serious health conditions, any emergency condition, and 25 chronic diseases; they can be found on the Council For Medical Schemes website.
Leukaemia refers to cancers of the blood cells. The type of blood cell that becomes cancerous, and the rate at which it grows, determines the type of leukaemia. Leukaemia occurs mostly in adults over the age of 55 years; however, it is also the most common type of cancer in children younger than 15 years.
According to the South African National Cancer Registry, in 2012, there was a total of 380 males and 285 females diagnosed with Leukaemia.
What is Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia? Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) cancer affects the blood and bone marrow. The main effect of ALL is the overproduction of immature white blood cells, called lymphoblast or leukaemic blasts, which results in a high number of abnormal white blood cells in your blood circulation. It can spread to the lymph nodes, spleen, liver, central nervous system (CNS), and other organs. The uncontrolled production of the white cells can be a result of a cancerous mutation (a change in the cell DNA) of a myelogenous (cells present in bone marrow) or lymphogenous cell (cells present in lymph tissue and fluid). ALL progresses quickly if not treated. Generally, the more undifferentiated (a cell that has yet to develop into a particular cell variant) the cell, the more acute is the leukaemia, often leading to death within a few months if untreated. With some of the more differentiated (when a less specialised cell becomes a more specialised cell) cells, the process can be chronic, sometimes developing slowly over 10 to 20 years. Leukaemic cells, especially the very undifferentiated cells, are usually unable to provide the normal protection against infection.