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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Cancer Treatments > Kidney Cancer Treatment

Kidney Cancer Treatment Cost

How Much Does Kidney Cancer Treatment Cost?

average costWith Health Insurance: Copays + 10%-50% Coinsurancehigh costWithout Health Insurance: $15,000-$200,000+
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The most common type of kidney cancer is renal cell carcinoma[1] . Kidney cancer treatment typically involves surgery to remove part or all of the kidney, and possibly treatment with cancer-targeting drugs.

Typical costs:

  • For patients with health insurance, out-of-pocket costs for kidney cancer treatment typically consist of doctor visit, lab and prescription drug copays as well as coinsurance of 10%-50% for surgery and other procedures, which can easily reach the yearly out-of-pocket maximum. Kidney cancer treatment typically is covered by health insurance, although some plans might not cover individual drugs or treatments.
  • For patients not covered by health insurance, kidney cancer treatment typically costs $15,000-$75,000 or more for a nephrectomy, a kidney removal surgery. The cost depends on the extent of the surgery and whether there are complications. Treatment with drugs can add $50,000 to almost $200,000 for one course of treatment, for a total that can reach $500,000 or more, depending on the medications used.
  • For example, according to, a health care cost comparison website, the average list price for kidney removal is more than $25,000 while the average negotiated price, through an insurance company, is about $8,000. According to the site, The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland has the lowest list price for the procedure at $14,500. At Baptist Memorial Health Care, in Tennessee, a kidney surgery[2] for cancer costs from $25,000 without complications to more than $70,000 with major complications, not including doctor fee.
  • The average monthly cost of sorafenib[3] , a drug commonly used to treat kidney cancer, is $2,603. And the average monthly cost of sunitinib, another drug often used, is $3,346, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology. One course of treatment with sorafenib[4] costs about $62,200, while a course of treatment with sunitinib costs about $79,400. One course of treatment with bevacizumab, a drug given intravenously, reaches almost $175,000, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
  • A kidney transplant[5] , which might be an option in some cases, according to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, can cost $260,000 or more total for the pre-transplant screening, donor matching, surgery, post surgical care and first six months of drugs. Afterward, it costs about $17,000 per year for anti-rejection drugs.
Related articles: Biopsy, Abdominal Ultrasound, Chemotherapy, Radiation Therapy, Kidney Transplant, Health Insurance

What should be included:
  • In many cases, surgery will be recommended to treat kidney cancer. Depending on the case, the doctor might recommend either a partial nephrectomy, in which part of the kidney is removed or a simple nephrectomy, in which a whole kidney is removed. In more advanced cases, it might be necessary to do a radical nephrectomy, in which nearby tissue, lymph nodes and the adrenal gland also are removed.
  • In some cases, when surgery is not a good option, radiofrequency ablation[6] can be used to heat and destroy kidney tumors. If both kidneys are removed or do not function, the patient will require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
  • In many cases, targeted therapy[7] , drugs that specifically target the cancer cells and may spare healthy cells, will be recommended. Drugs commonly used include sorafenib[8] (brand name Nexavar), sunitinib[9] (brand name Sutent), both of which are taken as a pill, as well as temsirolimus[10] (brand name Torisel), which is given by IV infusion, usually once a week.
  • Kidney cancer often is resistant to chemotherapy[11] , so it might be tried only after other treatments, such as targeted therapy, have failed. Kidney cancer also tends to be resistant to radiation therapy[12] .
  • In some cases, a kidney transplant might be recommended. The National Cancer Institute offers an overview of kidney cancer treatment[13] .
Additional costs:
  • Dialysis can cost $500 per treatment or $50,000-$70,000 per year; however, patients might be eligible for Medicare, which provides dialysis.
  • Many hospitals give discounts of up to 30% or more to uninsured or cash-paying patients. For example, Washington Hospital Healthcare System[14] in California offers a 35% discount.
  • Some companies offer free cancer drugs to uninsured patients who cannot afford the drugs. For example, Bayer has a patient assistance program[15] that provides free Nexavar for a year.
Shopping for kidney cancer treatment:
  • The Society of Surgical Oncology offers a surgical oncologist locator.
  • The National Cancer Institute offers a guide[16] to finding a doctor or cancer treatment facility.
  • The Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients offers a transplant center locator[17] by address.
  • offers a dialysis center locator[18] .
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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