Lung cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, and it’s one of the deadliest diseases. More than 250,000 people are diagnosed each year, and one of their first thoughts usually goes to treatment. This thought brings with it a lot of understandable questions.

What are my treatment options for lung cancer?

What are the chances treatment will work for me?

And finally, how much will lung cancer treatment cost me?

A small percentage of lung cancer cases are caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a raw mineral used to make buildings sturdier and safer, particularly from fire damage. Asbestos can also be cancerous, entering the body and piercing into tissue linings. Lung tissue can be affected by asbestos fibers and around 10,000 people each year are diagnosed with asbestos lung cancer.

Treatment for lung cancer is the same regardless of whether asbestos is the cause or not. The price is also the same.

Mesothelioma Guide has prepared a page breaking down the average costs of lung cancer treatment. This page includes the average amount that lung cancer patients pay for treatment (adding up what they’ll pay for each treatment), plus the average cost of each individual type of treatment.

Average Cost of Lung Cancer Treatment

The website VeryWellHealth cited a report that analyzed costs billed to Medicare for cancer treatment. Lung cancer treatment in the first year of diagnosis averaged $65,700 per patient. Oral medications, which usually help with pain management, averaged $3,500 per patient in the first year of treatment.

The cost for treatment was much lower in the follow-up years, averaging just $11,900 per patient per year. Oral medication was below $3,000 per patient per year.

These figures estimate the total amount of cost, not the out-of-pocket costs for patients. Insurance usually reduces the amount substantially, and patients with insurance like Medicare are only responsible for a few thousand dollars.

This data from Medicare is particularly relevant for people with asbestos lung cancer. Medicare is a health insurance option for people ages 65 and older, and the majority of people with asbestos diseases are 50 years old or older.

Asbestos sits in the body for decades without causing immediate damage, but it slowly aggravates tissue linings until eventually causing cells to mutate. This process can take 20-50 years, which is why asbestos lung cancer patients are usually older. They often qualify for Medicare coverage.

Average Cost for Lung Cancer Surgery

Surgery costs between $15,000 and $30,000. The report from Medicare estimated that patients were responsible for only $1,738 out of pocket. This data was from 2017.

There are a few surgeries for lung cancer. They differ in how much of the lung is taken out. The four surgeries for lung cancer are:

  • Pneumonectomy – Removes the whole lung
  • Lobectomy – Removes entire lobes of a lung, but not the whole lung
  • Segmentectomy – Removes segments of lobes
  • Wedge resection – Removes a wedge-shaped part of the lung

Average Cost for Lung Cancer Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy has the largest range of costs. The amount could be as low as a few thousand dollars or as high as $200,000. Fortunately, chemotherapy is often covered by Medicare and private insurance plans.

Chemotherapy is the most common type of cancer treatment. If surgery isn’t an option, chemotherapy is usually recommended for patients. The emergence of immunotherapy has provided an alternative, but chemotherapy remains a central part of cancer treatment.

Average Cost for Lung Cancer Immunotherapy

The cost of immunotherapy treatment varies, but in general is quite expensive. There are different types of immunotherapy: monoclonal antibodies, immune checkpoint inhibitors, CAR T-cell therapy, and more.

For instance, according to the website Talk to Mira, one infusion of CAR T-cell therapy can cost more than $300,000. This therapy usually only needs one infusion, but that price tag is very high.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors can cost around $10,000 a month ($120,000 a year). Oncolytic virus therapy, or virotherapy, is estimated at $65,000 a year.

Average Cost for Lung Cancer Radiation

VeryWellHealth reported that radiation for lung cancer usually costs a little more than $9,000 per patient. It’s often covered in full by Medicare and private insurance plans.

Other Costs From Lung Cancer Treatment

In addition to treatment like surgery or immunotherapy, medical care often includes:

  • Imaging tests
  • Blood tests
  • Biopsy surgery
  • In-patient, overnight hospital stays and nursing care
  • Postoperative rehabilitation

All of these forms of medical care cost money, usually hundreds or thousands of dollars. Insurance pays a percentage, but patients may have out-of-pocket costs.

There are indirect costs of lung cancer treatment, too. They are part of the process patients go through to receive treatment from a lung cancer specialist:

  • Travel
  • Transportation
  • Lodging

There are also caregiver costs, lost wages, counseling, palliative care, and quality-of-life therapies (such as acupuncture). These costs add up for patients and their families, often draining savings accounts in hopes of a cancer-free future.

How to Reduce Your Out-of-Pocket Costs for Lung Cancer Treatment

This breakdown should give people with lung cancer an expectation for the financial cost of treatment. If you have asbestos lung cancer, you can receive financial compensation to help pay for life-saving treatment.

Talk with our registered nurse, Karen Ritter, for patient help with lung cancer. Email her at karen@mesotheliomaguide.com today to see if there are ways you and your family can minimize the out-of-pocket expenses for your lung cancer treatment.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About the Cost of Asbestos Lung Cancer Treatment

  • How much does lung surgery cost?

    The cost of lung surgery for mesothelioma can vary significantly depending on factors such as the type of surgery, location, and health insurance coverage. It is best to consult with a healthcare provider or insurance company for specific cost information.
  • How much does cancer treatment cost with insurance?

    As a doctor, it is difficult to give an exact cost for cancer treatment as it can vary depending on the type of insurance and the specific treatment plan. However, typically insurance will cover a portion of the cost, and the patient will be responsible for a deductible and/or co-payments. It is important to discuss financial concerns with your healthcare team and insurance provider.
  • What is the cost of lung cancer treatment?

    The cost of lung cancer treatment varies depending on the stage of the cancer, the type of treatment, and the healthcare provider. However, mesothelioma treatment can be particularly expensive and may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and palliative care. Patients may also incur additional costs such as travel, accommodation, and lost wages. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider and insurance company to understand the costs associated with mesothelioma treatment.
  • What is the average cost of immunotherapy?

    The cost of immunotherapy for mesothelioma can vary depending on the individual patient's treatment plan, insurance coverage, and other factors. It is best to consult with a mesothelioma specialist to get an accurate estimate of the cost for your specific situation. It's important to note that many patients are eligible for financial assistance through clinical trials, grants, and other resources.
  • What does asbestos look like?

    Asbestos can come in various forms, but it is typically a fibrous mineral that appears as thin, elongated fibers that can be white, gray, or bluish-green in color. It can be difficult to identify visually, so it's best to seek professional help if you suspect you may have come into contact with asbestos.
  • What is cancer and how is it caused?

    Cancer is a disease characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells in the body. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetic mutations, exposure to carcinogens such as asbestos, tobacco smoke, radiation, and certain viruses.
  • What is a segmentectomy of the lung?

    Segmentectomy of the lung is a surgical procedure that removes a specific segment of a patient's lung affected by mesothelioma or other diseases, while preserving the remaining healthy lung tissue. This can help improve overall lung function and reduce the risk of complications during and after surgery.
  • What percentage of people have cancer?

    According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 38.4% of people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime. However, the percentage varies based on age, gender, ethnicity, and other factors.
  • What is asbestos poisoning?

    Asbestos poisoning is the result of inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers, which can lead to serious health issues such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. Asbestos fibers can cause damage to the lungs and other internal organs, leading to scarring and inflammation, and can eventually result in cancer. Symptoms of asbestos poisoning can take years or even decades to appear, making early detection and prevention critical.
  • How long can you live with lung cancer with treatment?

    The survival rate for lung cancer with treatment varies depending on the stage and type of cancer. In general, the five-year survival rate for lung cancer is around 19%, but this varies widely depending on the stage and type of cancer. It is important to speak with your doctor about your specific case and treatment options.
  • How many people are diagnosed with cancer each year?

    According to the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that there will be approximately 1.8 million new cancer diagnoses in the United States in 2020.
  • How common is it to get cancer?

    According to the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that there will be 1,898,160 new cancer cases in the United States in 2021. However, the number of cases specifically related to mesothelioma is much lower, with approximately 2,500 to 3,000 cases diagnosed annually.
  • How common is it to get cancer?

    Cancer is a relatively common disease, with an estimated 1 in 3 people developing some form of cancer during their lifetime. However, mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is primarily caused by exposure to asbestos.
  • How long to live with lung cancer?

    It is difficult to determine how long someone with mesothelioma will live as it depends on several factors such as the stage of the cancer, age, overall health, and treatment options. However, the average life expectancy for someone with mesothelioma is around 12-21 months. Early detection and aggressive treatment can improve survival rates. It is important to seek medical attention and discuss treatment options with a specialist in mesothelioma.
  • How many cancer diagnosis per year?

    According to the American Cancer Society, there are around 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma diagnosed in the United States each year.
  • How many people get cancer each year?

    Approximately 1.8 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year in the United States. However, the incidence of mesothelioma specifically is much lower, with around 3,000 new cases diagnosed annually.
  • How many people get cancer per year?

    According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 1.8 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in the United States in 2021. It is important to note that mesothelioma is a relatively rare form of cancer, with about 3,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the US.

Sources & Author

Devin Golden

About the Writer, Devin Golden

Devin Golden is a content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin's objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.

    Sources & Author

Devin Golden

About the Writer, Devin Golden

Devin Golden is a content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin's objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.