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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Cancer Treatments > Brain Tumor Treatment

Brain Tumor Treatment Cost


How Much Does Brain Tumor Treatment Cost?

 
average costWith Health Insurance: Copay + 10%-50% Coinsurancehigh costWithout Health Insurance: $50,000-$700,000+
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  Typical costs:
  • For patients covered by health insurance, the typical cost of brain tumor treatment will include doctor copays, drug copays and coinsurance of 10-50% or more -- most likely reaching the yearly out-of-pocket maximum. Brain tumor treatment typically is covered by health insurance.
  • For patients not covered by health insurance, the typical cost of brain tumor treatment can range from less than $50,000 for a small benign tumor in an accessible location that can be treated with surgery alone up to $700,000 or more for a malignant tumor that must be treated with some combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. For example, the cost of brain surgery is typically $50,000-$150,000 or more. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center[1] in New Hampshire charges about $72,500 for brain surgery, including hospital charge and doctor fees, after a 30% uninsured discount. Saint Elizabeth Medical Center[2] in Nebraska charges about $33,600-$78,700, not including doctor fees. And Baptist Memorial Healthcare in Memphis charges almost $50,000 without major complications to almost more than $110,000 with major complications, not including the doctor fees, which can add up to $30,000 or more to the final bill.
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery, a type of radiation therapy commonly used on brain tumors, typically costs $12,000-$55,000; however, additional treatments sometimes are required for recurring or new tumors, so total costs can easily reach $100,000 or more. The cost of chemotherapy varies widely based on the drug, how it is administered and how many treatments are required -- and costs commonly reach tens of thousands of dollars.
  • The Brain Tumor Foundation estimates[3] the cost of treating a glioblastoma at more than $450,000 and says costs of treating a brain tumor can reach $700,000 in a lifetime.
Related articles: Brain Surgery, Stereotactic Radiosurgery, Health Insurance

What should be included:
  • In surgery, the most common treatment for a brain tumor, the patient is placed under general anesthesia and the surgeon performs a craniotomy, cutting into the skull to access the brain. After surgery, the patient typically must stay in the hospital for three to six days and take several weeks off from work. HopkinsMedicine.org offers an overview of the different types of craniotomy[4] and the types of brain tumors each one typically is used to treat.
  • Radiation therapy[5] might be used in conjunction with surgery, with chemotherapy, or alone. In conventional radiation therapy, partial doses of radiation are delivered to the brain, usually once a day for about six weeks. In Stereotactic radiosurgery, which can sometimes be used on tumors deemed inoperable, the doctors uses 3-D computer images of the brain to target multiple beams of high doses of radiation directly into the tumor. Typically, between one and five treatments are needed.
  • Chemotherapy[6] , which usually is used for cancerous brain tumors, typically either kills cancer cells or inhibits their ability to reproduce. The Brain Tumor Center at Massachusetts General Hospital offers a guide to chemotherapy[7] for brain tumor patients.
  • The American Brain Tumor Association offers detailed information about each type of brain tumor treatment.
Additional costs:
  • After brain surgery, a patient might need physical therapy, speech therapy or occupational therapy. This can cost hundreds of dollars per session -- and can total thousands or tens of thousands of dollars or more.
Discounts:
  • Many doctors and hospitals give discounts of up to 30% or more to uninsured/cash-paying patients. For example, Washington Hospital Healthcare System[8] in California offers a 35% discount.
  • The National Brain Tumor Society also offers a list of organizations[9] that provide financial and other support to cancer patients.
Shopping for brain tumor treatment:
  • For diagnosis and treatment of a brain tumor, a primary care doctor can make a referral to neurologist. Or, the American Academy of Neurology offers a doctor locator[10] .
  • If surgery is required, the neurologist can make a referral to a neurosurgeon. The American Board of Neurological Surgery also offers a doctor locator for board-certified neurosurgeons[11] .
  • If radiation is part of the treatment plan, the patient will need a radiation oncologist. RTAnswers.org offers a doctor locator[12] .
  • If the brain tumor is cancerous, the patient will need an oncologist. The American Society of Clinical Oncology offers a doctor locator[13] , which gives patients and their families the ability to search for oncologists who specialize in brain tumors. It is common for patients being treated at brain tumor centers at large hospitals to be treated by a team of specialists who work together regularly.
  • The Brain Tumor Foundation has advice and resources for patients[14] .
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
 
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External Resources:
  1.  patients.dartmouth-hitchcock.org/billing_questions/out_of_pocket_estimator_dhmc.html?&s...
  2.  tp.chi.acelogicus.net/nese/Default.aspx
  3.  www.braintumorfoundation.org/resources/insurance-tips/
  4.  www.hopkinsmedicine.org/neurology_neurosurgery/specialty_areas/brain_tumor/treatment/su...
  5.  www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/radiationtherapy.html
  6.  www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/cancerchemotherapy.html
  7.  brain.mgh.harvard.edu/chemoguide.htm
  8.  www.whhs.com/about/washington-hospital-discount-policy-for-uninsured/
  9.  www.braintumor.org/patients-family-friends/resources/financial-insurance.html#Organizat...
  10.  patients.aan.com/findaneurologist/
  11.  www.abns.org/diplomates/default.aspx
  12.  www.rtanswers.org/
  13.  www.cancer.net/all-about-cancer/newly-diagnosed/find-oncologist/find-oncologist-database
  14.  www.braintumorfoundation.org/resources/
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