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

Lung Cancer Treatment Cost


How Much Does Lung Cancer Treatment Cost?

 
average costWith Health Insurance: Copays + 10%-50% Coinsurancehigh costWithout Health Insurance: $10,000-$200,000+

Lung cancer[1] , or cancer that starts in the lungs, is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, with smokers at greatest risk for contracting the disease. According to the National Institutes of Health[2] , lung cancer is more common in older adults and rarer in people 45 or younger.

Typical costs:

  • For patients covered by health insurance, out-of-pocket costs for skin 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. Lung cancer treatment typically is covered by health insurance, although some plans might not cover individual drugs or treatments.
  • According to the American Cancer Society[3] , 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 lung cancer in particular, treatment[4] typically involves one or more of the following options, alone or in combination: surgery which can cost[5] $15,000 or more; chemotherapy, which can cost $10,000 -$200,000 or more; radiation therapy, which can cost $10,000-$50,000 or more; and/or drug therapy, which can cost as much as $4,000 or more a month depending on the drug used. For instance, ranibizumab (Lucentis) costs about $1,600 a dose, while Erlotinib (Tarceva) costs $3,500 a dose.
  • One study[6] on the economic burden of lung cancer estimates that the overall costs, from diagnosis to a maximum of two years thereafter, to be about $46,000. The study found that the main cost drivers were hospitalization (49% of costs) and outpatient office visits (35.2% of costs), with a monthly initial treatment phase cost of $11,500 per patient.
  • The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality [7] reports that patients with lung cancer are typically hospitalized for 7 days at a cost of $15,600 total, or $2,200 per day.
  • If it appears unlikely that the condition can be cured, a doctor may recommend that a patient avoid harsh treatments and opt for supportive care instead. One recent study[8] found that patients who received palliative care incurred, on average, $6,900 less in hospital costs during a given admission than patients who received usual care. Most insurance plans cover palliative care.
Related articles: MRI, X-Ray, Chest X-Ray, Chemotherapy, Radiation Therapy, Health Insurance, Massage

What should be included:
  • Patients who experience symptoms[9] may undergo a series of tests to detect cancerous cells, including an MRI or X-ray.
  • According to the Mayo Clinic[10] , a patient and doctor develop a treatment plan based on a number of factors, including overall health, the type and stage of cancer, and patient preferences.
Additional costs:
  • According to a study[11] published in the international journal Lung Cancer, the failure of initial treatment is associated with markedly increased costs. Patients needing additional rounds of treatment had total costs of $120,650, compared to $45,953 for those receiving initial treatment only.
  • According to the Mayo Clinic[12] , while alternative treatments won't cure cancer, some, such as acupuncture, hypnosis and massage can often be combined with standard medical care to help relieve signs and symptoms.
Discounts:
  • Many hospitals offer discounts of 30% of more to uninsured/cash-paying patients. At St. Joseph Hospital[13] 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[14] low-income patients may qualify for free or low-cost services.
Shopping for lung cancer treatment:
  • Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have enacted oral chemotherapy access laws[15] that require private health plans to cover cancer drugs as they would cover traditional intravenous infusion therapy.
  • The National Cancer Institute offers a list of resources[16] 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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External Resources:
  1.  www.mayoclinic.com/health/lung-cancer/DS00038
  2.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004529/
  3.  www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/002813-pdf.pdf
  4.  www.mayoclinic.com/health/lung-cancer/DS00038/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs
  5.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22169443
  6.  www.lungcancerjournal.info/article/S0169-5002(05)00318-1/abstract
  7.  www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb125.jsp
  8.  content.healthaffairs.org/content/30/3/454
  9.  www.mayoclinic.com/health/lung-cancer/DS00038/DSECTION=symptoms
  10.  www.mayoclinic.com/health/lung-cancer/DS00038/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs
  11.  www.lungcancerjournal.info/article/S0169-5002(05)00318-1/abstract
  12.  www.mayoclinic.com/health/lung-cancer/DS00038/DSECTION=alternative-medicine
  13.  www.sjo.org/For-Patients/Your-Hospital-Bill/Self-Pay-Discount-Program.aspx
  14.  www.hrsa.gov/gethealthcare/affordable/hillburton/
  15.  capsules.kaiserhealthnews.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Oral-Chemo-Access-Map-May...
  16.  www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping/financial-legal#Getting+Financial+Help+for+Heal...
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