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

Skin Cancer Treatment Cost


How Much Does Skin Cancer Treatment Cost?

 
average costWith Health Insurance: Copays + 10%-50% Coinsurancehigh costWithout Health Insurance: $400-$50,000+
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Skin cancer[1] , in which malignant cells develop in the tissues of the skin, is the most common form of cancer and typically affects parts of the body exposed to the sun. However, it can also strike unexposed areas such as nail beds or the bottom of the feet. Most patients diagnosed with skin cancer have a nonmelanoma[2] form, which rarely spreads. The rarer melanoma[3] form of the disease is more likely to invade other parts of the body.

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. Skin cancer treatment typically is covered by health insurance.
  • The cost of treatment[4] varies, depending on the size, type, depth and location of the lesions, and, importantly, the stage in which it was detected. One study[5] published in the Archives of Dermatology found average treatment costs for skin cancers to range from $1,732 for stage I disease to $56,059 for stage IV disease.
  • Treatment may include a curettage procedure followed by electrosurgery[6] , excisional surgery[7] , Mohs micrographic surgery[8] , and chemotherapy.
  • A cost comparison[9] published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found curettage and electrosurgery to be the least expensive option, with an average cost of $471 for the procedures to performed on a section of the cheek, and $392 for the procedures to performed on a section of the arm. The study found the average cost of Mohs micrographic surgery on the same parts of the body to be $1,263 (cheek) and $1,131 (arm). Meanwhile, excision in an ambulatory surgery center results was found to have an average cost of $2,334 (cheek) and $2,200 (arm). The study noted that when the excision was performed in a hospital operating room, the procedure was more expensive, at $3,085 and $2,680, respectively.
  • However, patients may pay substantially more, depending on such factors as the particular hospital in which the procedures are performed and the region of the country they seek treatment in. On one message board[10] patients reported paying about $1,625 for Mohs surgery. And at St. Elizabeth Regional Medical Center[11] in Lincoln, NE, the excision of a malignant lesion can range in cost from $6,700 to $9,388, depending on the size and location of the lesion.
  • When surgery isn't an option, radiation therapy may be used. According to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology cost comparison[12] the cost of radiation therapy treatment ranges from $2,591 to $3,460 for the cheek and $2,559 to $3,431 for the arm, depending on the fractional dose used.
Related articles: Sunburn Treatment, Biopsy, Age Spot Treatment, Intense Pulsed Light Therapy, Chemotherapy, Health Insurance

What should be included:
  • A skin cancer diagnosis[13] typically entails a doctor examining the skin for changes and ordering a biopsy. A doctor may also order additional tests to determine the stage of the skin cancer.
  • Treatment[14] will vary depending on the size and stage of the lesion. According to the Mayo Clinic, Small skin cancers limited to the skin's surface may not require more than an initial skin biopsy to remove the entire growth.
Additional costs:
  • A patient may opt for reconstructive surgery to address scars or disfigurement caused by the removal of a lesion. Most insurance companies cover reconstructive surgical procedures following skin cancer removal.
Discounts:
  • Discount outlets such as Costco[15] and Walmart[16] often sell prescription and over-the-counter drugs at significant savings. Walmart, for example, has a prescription drug program[17] that includes certain generic drugs at commonly prescribed dosages.
  • Many hospitals offer discounts of 30% of more to uninsured/cash-paying patients. At St. Joseph Hospital[18] 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.
Shopping for skin cancer treatment:
  • The National Cancer Institute offers a patient guide[19] to coping with skin cancer.
  • The American Society of Dermatologic Surgery offers a free physician finder service[20] .
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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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Treatment of skin cancer on check
Amount: $46,000.00
Posted by: Richard Stroud in Chandler, AZ.Posted: October 14th, 2015 06:10AM
Type of Treatment: RadiationLength of Hospitalization: 0
Treatment success...sessions consisted of 10 office visits
in which 2 minutes of dosage. While satisfied with the outcome
cannot understand the cost. My out of pocket so far over
3000.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.mayoclinic.com/health/skin-cancer/DS00190
  2.  www.webmd.com/melanoma-skin-cancer/skin-cancer-guide/skin-cancer-nonmelanoma-topic-over...
  3.  www.webmd.com/melanoma-skin-cancer/melanoma-guide/melanoma-skin-cancer-overview-facts
  4.  www.mayoclinic.com/health/skin-cancer/DS00190/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs
  5.  archderm.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=410727
  6.  www.webmd.com/cancer/curettage-and-electrosurgery-for-nonmelanoma-skin-cancer
  7.  www.webmd.com/cancer/excision-for-nonmelanoma-skin-cancer
  8.  www.webmd.com/cancer/mohs-micrographic-surgery-for-nonmelanoma-skin-cancer
  9.  www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(08)00938-9/abstract
  10.  www.realself.com/Mohs-surgery/reviews
  11.  tp.chi.acelogicus.net/nese/Default.aspx
  12.  www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(08)00938-9/abstract
  13.  www.mayoclinic.com/health/skin-cancer/DS00190/DSECTION=tests-and-diagnosis
  14.  www.mayoclinic.com/health/skin-cancer/DS00190/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs
  15.  www2.costco.com/Service/FeaturePage.aspx?ProductNo=11486072&cm_re=Common-_-Top_Nav-_-Ph...
  16.  www.walmart.com/cp/pharmacy/5431
  17.  www.walmart.com/cp/1078664
  18.  www.sjo.org/For-Patients/Your-Hospital-Bill/Self-Pay-Discount-Program.aspx
  19.  www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/skin/page10
  20.  www.asds.net/Find/
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