Beth's Cancer Care

For lung cancer, treatment typically involves one or more of the following options, alone or in combination: surgery which can cost $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.

One study 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 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 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.
Patients who experience symptoms may undergo a series of tests to detect cancerous cells, including CAT scans, MRI or X-ray.

According to a study 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.


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Doug Conrad 
Basehor, KS
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