Columbia Cancer Patient to Benefit from Oral Chemo Pill Law

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KANSAS CITY - Gov. Jay Nixon signed an oral chemotherapy bill into law Wednesday that will put a limit on the amount of money patients can be charged for pills. 

Ross Nichols is a Columbia resident and was diagnosed with multiple brain tumors in 2011. Nichols takes the oral chemotherapy pill and was personally invited by Gov. Nixon to attend the bill signing. Nichols was accompanied by his wife and two children. 

Representative Sheila Solon, R-Blue Springs, found out Nichols was using the oral chemotherapy method and asked him to testify for the bill three years ago. 

Nichols said with the oral chemotherapy, patients like himself are usually able to live a more normal lifestyle.

"Anything I can do that's normal is great. That's what I've tried to do and that's what the oral chemotherapy has allowed me to do," Nichols said. "I go to work everyday. I go to the capitol every day, so I think that's part of why my testimony is moving to some of the legislators because they see me all the time."

At the end of 2013, Nichols was told he had a Class 4 glioblastoma, which is the worst type of brain tumor. Nurses told Nichols people with this type of tumor typically live 24 months. 

"Who knows, some people go 16 or 17 months, but some go 10 years. I'm going to be one of those 10 year ones I hope," Nichols said. "It's not great, but we're going to fight."

Nichols said he believes this is truly a great and historic day for cancer patients in Missouri.

Beginning in January, Nichols and other cancer patients in Missouri who choose to use oral chemotherapy will only pay a maximum of $75 for a month's supply of pills.