Central Social Insurance Medical Council, an advisory body for Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare decided on January 20 to apply particle beam radiotherapy under national insurance coverage to the following patient therapies: ion bean radiotherapy for pediatric cancer and for bone soft tissue tumors in bones and muscles that are difficult to be operated by surgery. A therapy called “blood patch” for headaches caused by losing cerebrospinal fluid after automobile and other accidents is also to get national insurance coverage. Both procedures will begin from April 2016.
Particle beam radiotherapy is a treatment to attack cancer cells by using beams of energetic protons, neutrons, or positive ions for cancer treatment. It used to be assigned as an advance medical care and only the necessary medical examination and hospitalization costs were covered by national insurance. It costs three million yen if patients have to pay by themselves. The monetary burden for the patients will be significantly reduced by this insurance application.