How Much Does Chemotherapy Cost

Without a doubt, cancer is not only a deadly disease, but it also has one of the most expensive treatments in the world. It can be treated through surgeries, radiation therapies, and alternative therapies.

But the most popular treatment is the chemotherapy, which involves the use of medical drugs containing chemical substances to slow down the growth of cancer cells or completely destroy them in the system. Its success significantly depends on the type and stage of cancer a patient has. There are times when chemotherapy totally eliminates the malignant cells. In other cases, the treatment may just block the disease’s development before the formal surgery commences.

While chemotherapy mainly targets the cancerous cells, it also drastically hits the healthy cells in the body, including cells found int the bone marrow and hair follicles, that’s why some patients lose hair or become bald. Other side effects are fatigue, weight loss, anemia, and nausea, to name a few. Once the treatment is complete, patients will no longer experience the side effects.

Chemotherapy is no joke. It drains you physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. But out of curiosity, how much does chemotherapy cost these days?

Cost of Chemotherapy

Cost of Chemotherapy

Apparently, there is no standard cost of chemo, but rough estimations can range from $10,000 to $200,000. The cost usually depends on the type of chemotherapy, the frequency and duration of the treatment, the drug doses administered, the institution where the procedure is performed, and the patient’s residence. The American Cancer Society also lists other expenses that cancer patients spend on, and these factors affect the overall cost as well.

These expenditures are the following:

– visits to the provider

– scheduled clinical visits for the treatments

– laboratory tests involved in the chemotherapy such as urine tests and blood tests

– imaging tests such as CT scans, x-rays, and MRIs

– necessary medical procedures for the diagnosis and/or treat; this include consultations with different doctors

– radiation treatments like implants and external radiation

– costs of the medical drugs, which include prescription, non-prescription, inpatient, outpatient, and medicines needed for the medical procedures

– hospital admissions and stays that come with doctor visits, nursing care, and consultations with resident specialists

– surgical operations; the payment for the surgeon, pathologist, anesthesiologist, operating room fees, medicines, and use of equipment

– home care; hiring of private nurses, purchase of monitoring equipment, maintenance medicines, and a whole lot more

Cost of Chemotherapy with Insurance

Generally, the cost of chemotherapy is so high that a number of people diagnosed with cancer find it difficult to cover the expenses. But considering that cancer is a health problem, health insurance policies will definitely cover the chemotherapy, resulting in discounted costs for the needed treatment.

For patients with a health insurance, the out-of-pocket chemotherapy fees usually consist of visits to the physician or surgeon and laboratory costs. It also includes a prescription drug coinsurance of 10 to 15 percent, depending on the patient’s insurance plan and whether the treatment is in the form of pills, administered through IV, or other types of methods.

If you don’t have any health insurance, there are other ways to get discounts. Hospitals offer 20 to 30 percent discount or higher to patients who pay in cash. There are also charitable organizations that sponsor cancer patients who don’t have enough resources to spare for the needed treatments.

Estimated Chemotherapy Costs of by Cancer Type

There are many types of cancer, and each of them has specific chemotherapy needs. They vary based on the type of drugs given to a cancer patient and the treatment’s duration, and the also differ in terms of costs. Aside from that, factors like patient’s age, other prevailing health issues, the family history, and records of previous chemotherapy sessions also affect the overall expenses of the treatment.

According to the National Cancer Institute via NerdWallet, patients with brain cancer have the highest chemotherapy cost, which averages around $108,000 for the first after the diagnosis in women and over $115,000 for male cancer patients.

Meanwhile, the treatment of melanoma or skin cancer has an average cost of $5,000 and $5,400 for women and women, respectively, in the first year after the diagnosis of the disease. The figures already include the medical drugs. Other average costs include:

– colon cancer                                    $46,000

– genitourinary system cancer    $8,900 to $19,600

Cost of Cancer Drugs

When it comes to the cost of medical drugs to combat cancer, the price ranges from $100 to $65,000 or more per month. The cost basically depends on the type of drug needed for a certain cancer case. Here are some costs you can take note of:

– drugs for one course of breast cancer chemo cost around $900 to $30,000

– treatments for colorectal cancer can range from $12,000 to $30,000 for an eight-week session

– a new drug that treats some types of lymphoma and skin cancer is over $120,000

Chemotherapy Costs in Other Countries

Yes, the figures stated above are too high for common consumers in the US. It’s fortunate for those people who are rich because they can pay for the expenses. But for people who barely have enough, they do have an option to go to other countries where they can find more affordable chemotherapy costs and more sophisticated facilities.

In that regard, the top three destinations with the lowest average cost of chemotherapy, according to Medigo, are the following:

  1. Morocco starts at $150
  2. Ukraine starts at $283
  3. India starts at $655

Here are some medical institutions in other countries with their initial prices of chemotherapy, which you can consider:

– Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in Mumbai, India                starts at $13,331

– Clinique Oncologie de Tanger in Tanger Morocco                            starts at $150

– Primus Super Specialty Hospital in New Delhi, India                       starts at $656

– Hisar Intercontinental Hospital in Istanbul Turkey                           starts at $1,330

– Apollo Hospital Indraprastha in New Delhi, India                             starts at $8,006

– Narayana Health: Health City in Bangalore, India                             starts at $7,091

– Hôpital Privé de Marrakech in Marrakech, Morocco                      starts at $150

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