Monday, January 13, 2014

How Much Does Cancer Cost?



Cancer is expensive.  As if I need another reason to hate it…   I'm about to share the cost of my Hodgkin's Lymphoma treatment with you.

Because mine was caught in Stage I, my treatment was minimal.  The time between when I discovered the tumor in my lymph node to the time I completed my final treatment was 6 months.  Many people go through much more treatment over a much longer period of time, so keep in mind the amount I'm about to share with you is on the extreme low end of cancer treatment cost.

Ok, so are you ready to hear how much my cancer treatment was?  As of 1/13/2014, the total cost of my treatment has been…. $153,000.


Now, let me clarify - $153,000 is the amount that has been charged to my insurance company.  Thankfully I have a good insurance plan, so my personal expense this year was somewhere around $4,000 (deductible, out of pocket expenses above deductible, prescriptions, and over the counter medications).

So, how does $153,000 break down?  I've been tracking all of my bills over the last 6 months, so I have that answer!  Here's the short(ish) answer:

It cost $26,300 to diagnose - including doctors visits, ultrasound, blood work, CT scan, needle biopsy, and excisional biopsy.

Once I was diagnosed, it was $33,300 to prepare me for my first chemo session - this included oncology appointments, port placement surgery, PET scan, heart and lung tests, and bone marrow biopsy.

Each chemo treatment was a little different in cost because the cost of each chemo drug is constantly changing.  On average, each chemo treatment was around $3,200 (the most expensive one was $3,600) totaling $13,000 for 4 chemo treatments.

If you recall, my white blood cells kept dropping, so I had to have several Neupogen shots at $430 a piece.  I still haven't seen the bill for the two Neupogen shots I had to get at the ER over one weekend…  But for the 8 shots I had at my oncologist's office, the total was $3,500 for Neupogen.

The total cost of radiation was $54,000!  This includes doctor visits, radiation planning (done by doctors before treatment), and 10 radiation treatments.

It was another $8,000 for my last PET scan to make sure I was cancer- free.  Then $11,000 to have my port removed.

Keep in mind I'll have four appointments with my oncologist (about $200 each) and two PET scans a year ($8,000-$10,000 each) for the next 5 years.  I'll list all costs below for those of you who want to know.  Some of these expenses may surprise you:

$165
Initial Doctors Visit
$790
Ultrasound
$115
Follow Up Doctors Visit
$50
Blood Work - CBC
$2,309
CT Scan

$3,597
Needle Biopsy
$170
Consultation with Surgeon
$19,102
Excisional Biopsy
$310
Consultation with Oncologist
$250
Detailed Blood Work
$10,805
Initial PET Scan
$1,036
Lung Function Test
$209
Heart Test

$16,698
Port Placement Surgery
$3,992
Bone Marrow Biopsy
$2,682
Chemo #1

$309
Blood Draw from Port
$2,585
ER visit

$110
Doctors Visit - Nurse Practitioner 
$95
Blood Work  
$3,382
Chemo #2

$430
Neupogen shot
$430
Neupogen shot
$50
Blood Work  
$110
Doctors Visit - NP
$108
Blood Work  
$3,622
Chemo #3

$430
Neupogen shot
$430
Neupogen shot
$514
Neupogen shot
$80
IV fluids

$430
Neupogen shot
$430
Neupogen shot
$95
Blood Work  
$430
Neupogen shot
$95
Blood Work  
$3,281
Chemo #4

$50
Blood Work  
$110
Doctors Visit - NP
$115
GP doctors visit
$7,959
PET scan

$248
CT (w/ PET)
$165
Doctors visit  
$95
Blood Work  
$587
Radiation Oncologist consult
$514
Radiation Planning (Simulation)
$4,370
Planning Appointment
$110
Radiation Simulation
$3,735
Treatment Plan & Scans
$3,222
Radiation  

$39,636
Radiation  

$610
Radiation Treatment
$667
Radiation Oncologist Physician Services
$10,873
Port Removal Surgery
$30
Follow Up with Radiation Doctor



10 comments:

  1. Uggh! Melissa...amazing you kept track of all of that! I kept all my bills and statements and my AML treatment was so much longer....initial diagnosis (or should I say many appts. that let me to a Hemotologist for final diagnosis), flight to be treated at a top notch facility (and again after infection set in!), numerous bm biopsies, 100 stay stay after TWO bm transplants...not to mention the side effects after all the drugs, infections, etc. etc. and I'm STILL dealing with it almost 5 years later.....must of topped out at at least $3 million. Fortunately for my husband's military insurance....not a penny was spent by us except for Rx meds. Otherwise, we would be bankrupt for sure. So sorry the diagnosis enough is tough but the long term financial and emotional effects can really break a person/family. :(

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Lisa! I don't doubt that many people have surpassed the million dollar mark! I am at the absolute lowest end of the spectrum, so I know most are much higher! That's amazing that you didn't have to spend anything - you're very lucky! We have good insurance, but we have a high deductible and a high out of pocket limit, so it cost us several thousand - but it's better than $150,000+ right?! Take care and let's BOTH continue on the remission path :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello Melissa, thank you very much for providing all this info! You have no ideal how much it helped! God bless as you continue to live life and be victorious!

    ReplyDelete
  4. What insurance plan do you have if you don't mind me asking?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello Melissa, I am glad you are a survivor of this disease just like my son. 14 years ago when my son was 17 years of age he was diagnosed just 3 days before Xmas. Treatment commenced immediately after New Years and all treatment, including chemo & radiation was completed within 8 months. He was at Stage 3 when diagnosed. We were fortunate in that we lived in Toronto, Canada, specifically where our Health Insurance is government run. Although we pay more in taxes than the United States, our taxes support our Health Insurance. The only thing that our Health Insurance did not cover were those expensive drug shot to boost red blood cell counts and the immune system. Had I not had my work group insurance plan, I would have paid about $11,000 out of my pocket. With the work insurance I only paid about$1,800 .
    I know that certain politicians in the United States like to complain that the Canadian Health system is not good, however when I see what you would have paid without Health insurance, I am happy what we have here in Canada. People here may gripe about the taxes we pay but not many complain when they have to use our health system in dealing with serious health matters as we won't end up bankrupting ourselves.
    By the way, my son is now 31 and has not had any reoccurrences.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you SSSOOO much for sharing this. I am nearing retirement and was very worried that lymphoma might demolish our nest egg. Getting sick is so expensive in't it.

      Delete
  6. Great write-up, I am a big believer in commenting on blogs to inform the blog writers know that they’ve added something worthwhile to the world wide web!.. https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/hope4cancerreviews/index.html Hope4Cancer Reviews

    ReplyDelete
  7. o get the advantages of a thorough detox treatment, we should likewise be "spotless" sports, as well as our spirits. find a drug rehab in

    ReplyDelete
  8. Good post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Appreciate it! Website

    ReplyDelete