How Much Does Lung Cancer Treatment Cost?
Lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, which is one of the leading causes of deaths in this generation. This usually occurs among smokers or those who are highly exposed to second-hand smoke as well as other harmful chemicals and gases. If not treated early, lung cancer may worsen as cancer cells can easily metastasize and spread inside the patient’s body. As such, early detection of lung cancer is a factor for fighting this deadly disease. The treatment for lung cancer can be either surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation treatment. The way that your lung cancer will be treated will depend on the stage of cancer you have, your doctor’s recommendation, as well as your overall health condition.
How much does it cost?
- The average cost for treating lung cancer is around $7,000 to $40,000 per year. The costs highly depend on if no active treatments are needed or if chemo is required. It will also vary by the stage and histologic type. On average, the costs of lung cancer treatment hover around $1,500 to $3,200 per month without insurance.
- Patients who survive through the first year incur the costs of initial treatment of around $26,000 for the first three months or $35,000 for the whole year. Lung cancer patients who die incur the initial treatment cost and terminal care costs amounting to around $42,000.
- According to cancer.org, cancer is a costly illness. For drug prescriptions alone, the average cost of a 30 day prescription is more than $1,600.
- Newer cancer treatments can also cost as much as $10,000 for a month. In addition, co-pays are often higher for cancer prescription drugs than those for other types of treatment.
- According to a study done in 2002, the average price for the treatment of lung cancer was $39,891.
- While health insurance will cover lung cancer treatments, every policy is going to vary. This is why it is so important to check with your plan to see what is going to be covered. For those who either need a new policy or simply want to change, consider using free comparison search engines such as eHealthInsurance.com.
What is going to be included?
- The cost of lung cancer treatment usually includes the cost of prescription drugs or medication, doctor’s fees, visits and consultation to the healthcare provider, laboratory tests, and pre-operative and post-operative care in case of surgical procedures.
- Treatment of lung cancer, like other forms of cancer, may also be covered by insurance in part. Just ask your insurance company regarding the terms and conditions involved.
- Medical expenses related to lung cancer treatment include visits to the doctor, lab tests such as blood and urine tests, clinic visit for treatments, procedures for diagnosis or treatment (which may cover room charges, equipment, doctors, pathologists, etc.), imaging tests (x-rays, CT scans, MRIs which may mean separate bills for the equipment, medicines used in the test, and fee for the radiologist), radiation treatments such as implants or external radiation, drugs, surgery, hospital fees, and home care.
- The three types of treatments include the following:
- Surgery – If all the cancer in the lungs can be removed with surgery, the patient will have a much higher survival rate. This is usually only possible if the cancer is detected in its earliest stages.
- Chemotherapy – This therapy stops or slows the growth of cancer cells. If the chemo kills the cancer cells, the cancer will be cured. If it merely stops the growth, the cancer will be controlled and stopped from spreading, and then the remaining cancer will be treated with medications to control the symptoms. Finally, chemotherapy may just be used to reduce the size of a tumor that is causing pain.
- Radiation – Unlike chemotherapy, radiation is a localized treatment used to stop or slow the growth of cancer cells.
What are the extra costs?
- In case your treatment is not covered by your insurance policy or if you do not have insurance, you will be shouldering all costs for lung cancer treatment.
- Extra costs may also be incurred in case of complications.
- Medications can also be a big part of the treatment, costing upwards of $1,500 per month.
- Patients that have to go through chemotherapy tend to pay 50% more than those in non-active treatments.
- Sometimes, more than one treatment may be necessary. For example, having surgery to remove cancer cells may need to be combined with chemo or radiation to make sure that all the cancer cells have been irradiated.
Tips to know
- Lung cancer is the leading cancer diagnois in the United States and accounts for more than 20% of Medicare’s total expenditures.
- Ask for a second opinion regarding your case especially if the doctor requires surgery to treat your cancer. Another opinion can help shed light on your case and enable you to come up with a sound decision.
How can I save money?
- Prevention is better than cure. The best way to save money and to avoid lung cancer is to take good care of your body and live a healthy lifestyle.
- Ask your doctor or hospital for advice on financing options. Some doctors may consider payment on an installment basis especially if the patient cannot pay all the costs in full.