Between 1999 and 2017, roughly 29 million people in the United States were diagnosed with some form of cancer. About 60,000 of these individuals were diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Close to half of the population will develop cancer at some point in their lives. When this happens, cancer patients must balance the emotional and physical weight of cancer with its cost.
In 2018, American cancer patients paid approximately $5.6 billion in out-of-pocket cancer treatment costs. According to the American Cancer Society, the average cost of cancer treatments will continue to rise in the coming years.
Some cancer patients may get financial assistance from family members and insurance. Even with this help, cancer treatments in the United States may be too costly for some patients.
What Determines the Cost of a Cancer Treatment?
The cost of cancer treatments will vary based on a number of factors, such as:
- The geographic location of the patient
- The individual cancer treatment center costs
- The patient’s insurance plan
- The recommended treatment plan
- The stage of cancer at the time of diagnosis
- The type of cancer diagnosed
For example, a doctor may recommend a multimodal treatment plan for a stage 1 mesothelioma patient. This plan may include a combination of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery to remove as much of the cancer as possible.
However, as a mesothelioma patient’s cancer worsens, they may have fewer treatment options available. Additionally, the goals of the treatment may change as the cancer moves into late stages of the disease.
Why Does Cancer Treatment Cost So Much?
There are three driving factors that increase the cost of cancer treatment: people, facilities and technology and drugs.
- People – Doctors, surgeons, nurses and other healthcare professionals working with cancer patients are highly trained and specialized in their field of study. Thus, they are generally well compensated for their skills and knowledge. The specialized nature of cancer experts, such as a mesothelioma doctor, can improve a patient’s quality of treatment while also increasing the cost of treatment.
- Buildings and technology – Many cancer treatment centers in the United States have state-of-the-art technology and equipment. The cost of upkeep for this technology, as well as regular maintenance costs to run a facility, may increase the price of cancer treatment.
- Drugs and therapies – Cancer drugs can be very expensive, and in some cases, there are few alternatives. Drug companies can set product prices to recoup research and development costs and turn a profit. Many patients may be forced to pay these high costs or forgo treatment.
Unfortunately, even the best health insurance in the United States may not cover every medical expense a cancer patient may face. There are often additional out-of-pocket treatment costs that add up quickly.
There are several other reasons a cancer patient may pay high prices for treatment.
Cancer Treatments Are Needed Immediately
Cancer can be a life-threatening disease and may require immediate action to treat. This can be especially true for patients diagnosed with more aggressive cancers, such as mesothelioma. An early mesothelioma diagnosis and swift treatment could extend a patient’s life.
The imminent mortality of cancer may prompt victims and their families to act quickly. This may require seeking the best medicine and procedures to treat the disease, despite the high costs.
Additional Drugs & Therapies Are Necessary
Radiation and chemotherapy are common cancer treatments. However, they come with their own side effects. Most cancer patients treated with chemotherapy are also prescribed additional medications to treat the side effects of chemotherapy.
Additional medications or secondary procedures prescribed to a cancer patient can be costly. However, many of these additional measures may be needed for patients to survive their treatments.
Compensation for Mesothelioma Treatment Costs
Mesothelioma patients are not excluded from the high costs of cancer treatments. However, many patients and family members may be eligible for compensation to help with the cost of mesothelioma treatments.
These forms of compensation can ease the burden of cancer treatment costs, living expenses and potentially end-of-life costs later.