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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Cancer Treatments > Multiple Myeloma Treatment

Multiple Myeloma Treatment Cost

How Much Does Multiple Myeloma Treatment Cost?

average costWith Health Insurance: Copays + 10%-50% Coinsurancehigh costWithout Health Insurance: $10,000-$200,000+
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Multiple myeloma[1] is a type of cancer that starts in the plasma cells of the bone. It is marked by the growth of bone tumors that make it harder for bone marrow to produce healthy blood cells, and causes problems for the immune system, kidneys and red blood cell count. Though there's no cure for multiple myeloma, patients can lead normal lives with treatment.

Typical costs:

  • For patients covered by health insurance, out-of-pocket costs for multiple myeloma 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. Multiple myeloma treatment typically is covered by health insurance, although some plans might not cover individual drugs or treatments.
  • According to the American Cancer Society[2] , the cost of cancer treatment depends on the type and duration of treatment, and whether the patient is treated at home, in a clinic, in the doctor's office, or in the hospital.
  • For Multiple Myeloma in particular, treatment[3] typically involves one or more of the following options: chemotherapy, which can cost $10,000 -$200,000 or more; radiation therapy, which can cost $10,000-$50,000 or more; stem cell transplantation, which typically costs $20,000-$60,000; and/or prescription drugs which can be expensive[4] , costing $4,000 or more for a month's supply, depending on the drug and dose needed. For instance, common multiple myeloma drug Bortezomib (Velcade)[5] , which is administered intravenously, costs $4,000-$8,000 per month, depending on dosing, while lenalidomide (Revlimid)[6] , costs $7,900 per month at a 21-out-of-28-day dosing.
  • The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality[7] reports that patients with multiple myeloma are typically hospitalized for 12 days at a cost of $28,700 total, or $2,500 per day.
  • A study[8] on the economic burden of multiple myeloma found that of all cancers involving the bone, it has the highest mean cost per case after diagnosis: $132,615 per case compared with $88,402 for patients with breast cancer who developed metastatic bone disease and $65,287 for patients with lung cancer who developed metastatic bone disease.
Related articles: Annual Physical, MRI, X-Ray, Chemotherapy, Radiation Therapy, Health Insurance

What should be included:
  • According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms[9] of the disease can vary, but may include bone damage and fractures or a high level of calcium in the blood, among other things. A doctor may first detect signs of multiple myeloma through blood and urine tests conducted during a routine physical exam.
  • Other tests, including imaging tests, like an MRI or x-ray or bone marrow exams may also be needed. If initial tests signal multiple myeloma, a patient will typically be referred to a hematologist or oncologist.
  • A doctor may order tests every few months to track the progression of the disease and determine when to start treatment. Patients who have multiple myeloma but don't exhibit symptoms may just be monitored.
Additional costs:
  • Some patients require a second stem cell transplant to achieve remission, which can double costs.
  • Many hospitals offer discounts of 30% of more to uninsured/cash-paying patients. At St. Joseph Hospital[10] in Orange, CA, for example, patients without health insurance may qualify for a 45% discount off billed charges. The hospital also offers an additional 10% discount if payment is made within 10 days of the patient receiving the bill.
  • Under the federal government's Hill-Burton program[11] low-income patients may qualify for free or low-cost services.
Shopping for multiple myeloma treatment:
  • Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have enacted oral chemotherapy access laws[12] that require private health plans to cover cancer drugs, in the same way they would cover traditional intravenous infusion therapy, though Medicare recipients aren't covered by the laws.
  • The National Cancer Institute offers a list of resources[13] for patients who need financial assistance.
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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