One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. For those women, breast cancer treatment costs can be overwhelming. This blog post will look at some of the costs associated with breast cancer treatment. We will also discuss ways to help offset those costs.
Breast Cancer Statistics
Though it is the most common cancer globally, accounting for 12.5% of all new annual cancer cases worldwide, there are still things we can do to fight breast cancer. Here are the American Cancer Society estimates for breast cancer in the United States in 2022:
- There is an approximately 13% (1 in 8) chance that U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime.
- In the United States, an estimated 287,850 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 51,400 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in 2022.
- In total, approximately 2,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in men in the year 2022. To put this into perspective, a man faces a lifetime risk of developing breast cancer at around 1 in 833.
- More than 3.8 million women in the United States have a history of breast cancer as of January 2022. This statistic includes women currently receiving treatment and those who have completed their treatments.
- Above all other cancers, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. It is estimated that about 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women will be breast cancers in 2022.
- If a woman has a close blood relative diagnosed with breast cancer, her risk of developing the disease increases to almost double. 15% of all women impacted by breast cancer have had someone in their family previously diagnosed with it.
Benefits of Early Diagnosis
Early diagnosis is key for breast cancer patients. According to studies, the earlier the breast cancer diagnosis, the more likely treatment will be successful. In addition, early diagnosis allows patients to start treatment sooner which can help with both positive outcomes and reducing cost-effectiveness long term.
Though cancer might not always be curable, an early diagnosis allows patients to proactively maintain their quality of life. Because of this, people must familiarize themselves with the symptoms and have early detection screenings of breast cancer performed as recommended.
Breast Cancer: Direct and Indirect Costs
Breast cancer treatment costs can be divided into direct and indirect costs.
Direct medical costs include:
- Medical testing
- Therapeutic treatments
- Prescription medications
- Doctors fees
Indirect costs include:
- Physical therapy
- Psychological therapy
- Income lost due to time off work
- Gas, parking, and accommodation if you need to travel for treatment
According to a recent study, the average cost of breast cancer treatment in 2020 was between $20,000 and $100,000.
Breast Cancer Outlook
The outlook for breast cancer patients has improved dramatically over the past few decades.
In 1975, the five-year survival rate for women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer was 74%. Today, that number has increased to 99%. The five-year survival rate for women diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer increased from 38% in 1975 to 84%.
The improvements in survival rates are due to a combination of earlier detection and more effective treatments.
As of January 1, 2022, approximately 4.1 million women with a history of breast cancer were diagnosed in the United States. Of these women, approximately 4% are living with metastatic disease. More than half of these women have originally been diagnosed with early-stage (I-III) breast cancers.
Treatment Options for Breast Cancer
When it comes to breast cancer, there are many different treatment options available. Some women opt for a lumpectomy, which involves removing the tumor and some surrounding tissue. Others choose a mastectomy, which involves removing the entire breast.
Several different chemotherapy treatments can be effective in treating breast cancer. In addition, radiation therapy is often used in conjunction with other treatments to help eradicate cancer cells.
With so many options available, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating breast cancer. However, with the help of your doctor, you can find the treatment plan that is right for you. No matter what treatment option you choose, it is important to discuss your options with your doctor to ensure that you make the best decision for your case.
Treatment Costs for Breast Cancer
The cost of breast cancer treatment can vary depending on the type of treatment you receive.
A lumpectomy is typically less expensive than a mastectomy. In addition, the cost of chemotherapy can range from $5,000 to $10,000 per treatment cycle.
Radiation therapy can also be costly, with some estimates ranging from $5,000 to $50,000.
It is important to discuss the cost of treatment with your doctor before making any decisions. In some cases, insurance may cover the cost of treatment. However, in other cases, you may be responsible for paying for treatment out of pocket.
Monthly Treatment Costs Estimates
Below are some estimates of the monthly costs associated with different types of breast cancer treatment:
Radiation therapy: $1,500-$4,000
These estimates do not include the cost of doctor’s visits, medications, or other associated costs.
Total Cost of Care
According to Breastcancer.org, Out-of-pocket costs for breast cancer care totaled $3.14 billion in 2019, more than any other type of cancer.
Health insurance typically covers breast cancer screenings, such as mammograms. However, coverage for treatment can vary depending on the type of insurance you have.
Medicare is a government-sponsored health insurance program that covers breast cancer screenings and most types of treatment. Medicaid is a state-sponsored health insurance program that covers breast cancer screenings and some types of treatment.
Private health insurance plans also cover breast cancer screenings and some types of treatment. However, coverage can vary depending on the type of plan you have.
On the other hand, the cost of treatment can be prohibitive for patients without health insurance. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the average out-of-pocket cost for a breast cancer patient without health insurance is $30,000.
Surgery Phase Cost Estimates
The cost of breast cancer surgery can vary depending on the type of surgery you have.
- A lumpectomy typically costs between $3,000 and $6,000.
- A mastectomy can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $12,000.
- You may also need to pay for anesthesia, which can cost an additional $1,000 to $2,000.
- Hospitalization costs can also add up. The average cost of a one-day stay in the hospital is $2,500. However, the length of your hospital stay will depend on the type of surgery you have.
After surgery, you may also need to pay for follow-up care, such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy. The cost of follow-up care can vary depending on the type of treatment you need.
Radiation Therapy Costs Estimates
The cost of radiation therapy can vary depending on the type of radiation therapy you receive.
- External beam radiation therapy typically costs between $4,000 and $6,000.
- Internal beam radiation therapy can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $50,000.
Chemotherapy Costs Estimates
The cost of chemotherapy can vary depending on the chemotherapy you receive.
- Oral chemotherapy drugs typically cost between $3,000 and $10,000 per treatment cycle.
- IV chemotherapy drugs can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 per treatment cycle.
- Targeted therapy drugs can also be costly. The average cost of a targeted therapy drug is $10,000 per treatment cycle.
The cost of chemotherapy can also vary depending on the length of treatment. Treatment typically lasts for three to six months.
Follow-Up Care Costs Estimates
After completing treatment, you will need to pay for follow-up care. Follow-up care typically includes doctor’s visits, mammograms, and blood tests. The cost of follow-up care can vary depending on the type of care you need.
- Doctor’s visits typically cost between $50 and $200.
- Mammograms can cost anywhere from $100 to $250.
- Blood tests can cost between $50 and $100.
Additional medical care costs depend on how often you need to see a doctor. You could have appointments every few months or only once a year.
Finding Help Paying For Breast Cancer
One of the most difficult decisions you and your family will have to make after being diagnosed with breast cancer is how to finance your treatment.
You have several choices: insurance, government assistance programs, and charitable organizations. Be sure to explore all of your options before making a decision.
American Life Fund Can Help With Breast Cancer Treatment Costs
American Life Fund offers financial assistance to breast cancer patients and their loved ones through viatical settlements. Funds from selling your life insurance policy through a viatical settlement can be used for treatment costs and other associated expenses.
Please contact us if you or someone close to you has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Managing the cost of treatment can be difficult, but we’re here to help.
Early detection and treatment of breast cancer may improve a patient’s quality of life. Patients have several resources available to them.
Speak to your doctor about treatment alternatives and what government aid or charitable organizations can help you pay for therapy. Patients with breast cancer can fight this illness by getting the right tools and assistance.
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