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Lung Cancer Cost Guide: Treatment Cost Breakup, Best Hospitals For Lung Cancer Treatment

  • Lung cancer develops when cells in any part of the lungs become abnormal and start to replicate uncontrollably. Nobody knows what triggers the genetic changes in the machinery of the cells that lead to this form of cancer, however, smokers are known to be at a risk of lung cancer.

Lung Cancer Cost Guide: Treatment Cost Breakup, Best Hospitals For Lung Cancer Treatment

Introduction to Lung Cancer Treatment

Lung cancer develops when cells in any part of the lungs become abnormal and start to replicate uncontrollably. Nobody knows what triggers the genetic changes in the machinery of the cells that lead to this form of cancer, however, smokers are known to be at a risk of lung cancer.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US. While smokers are at the greatest risk of getting this disease, people who get frequently exposed to pollution and passive smoke are no different. This malignancy mostly develops in people who are aged 45 and above and rarely affects people below that age group.

How much is the cost of lung cancer treatment has no definite answer? This is because the course of treatment advised may vary greatly from one patient to the other. Each lung case of lung cancer is different and most of the times, the cost variables are not known until the treatment actually starts.

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The total cost of lung cancer treatment depends on several factors such as the type of lung cancer, the stage and grade of cancer, the hospital you choose, the treating doctor, insurance status, and your geographical location. The cost of cancer treatment tends to vary greatly in different parts of the world. For example, cancer treatment cost is pretty affordable in countries such as India and Thailand, as compared to the options in the Western countries such as the US and the UK.

The purpose of this Lung Cancer Treatment Cost Guide is to present information pertaining to the costs associated with the treatment of this malignancy. Additionally, it provides a detailed break up of the costs that a patient is expected to bear during their course of treatment and the factors that affect the total cost of treatment.

lung cancer cost guide

Lung Cancer Risk Factors

According to the American Cancer Society, the following factors are known to increase the risk of lung cancer:

  • Tobacco smoke
  • Exposure to radon
  • Exposure to asbestos
  • Air pollution
  • Arsenic in drinking water
  • Exposure to cancer-causing agents such as inhaled chemicals (mustard gas, coal products, silica, cadmium etc.) and diesel exhaust
  • A family history of lung cancer
  • Previous history of radiation to the lungs
  • Previous history of lung cancer
  • Carotene supplements

There are several other factors that are suspected to be the risk factors for lung cancer. However, the researchers have not been able to prove the direct cause-and-effect mechanism for these factors.

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Suspected risk factors

  • Marijuana smoke
  • Use of talcum powder or talc

Factors Affecting The Cost of Lung Cancer Treatment

The average cost of lung cancer treatment in any country depends on the internal health policy of the state, the hospital charges, whether or not the patient has an insurance. Irrespective of all these factors, the lung cancer treatment cost may vary from one hospital to the other within the same state by as much as 30 to 40 percent.

High-end hospitals with state-of-the-art facilities such as premiere residential complex, shopping arcade, and inbuilt multicuisine restaurants charge a greater fee for treatment as compared to hospitals that focus more on just the treatment. However, that does not mean that the quality of treatment offered by the less expensive hospitals is not at par with the high-end hospitals.

The following are some of the top factors that control the overall lung cancer treatment cost worldwide:

Cost of Initial Investigations

Once the patient visits a doctor with specific symptoms of lung cancer, the pulmonologist advises a series of tests to diagnose the condition.

Some of the tests that are conducted initial include the following:

  • Chest X-ray
  • Sputum test
  • Pulmonary function test (spirometry)
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC)

When the test results are suggestive of lung cancer, a biopsy is conducted to confirm the diagnosis. The doctor may take a sample for biopsy during bronchoscopy or he may do it later using CT-guided test or endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) test. A PET CT scan is also conducted at this stage to confirm the diagnosis and to check for the extent of cancer. Additionally, a bone scan may be conducted to check for the invasion of cancer cells into the bones.

All of these tests cost additional to the treatment of lung cancer.

The Fees of the Medical, Surgical, and Radiation Oncologist

Depending on the type and stage of lung cancer, the patient may require a surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. Most of the patient requires a combination of these treatment modalities for successful treatment. Each of these treatment types is handled by different specialists. While a medical oncologist is the one who looks after chemotherapy, surgical management is handled by a surgical oncologist and radiation by a radiation oncologist.

The selection of treatment that is expected to work the best of the patient further depends on the type of lung cancer that they have. A surgery is usually a common treatment option for patients with non-small cell lung cancer that is localized and has not spread anywhere in the body. It is not usually recommended in the case of small-cell lung cancer unless it has been diagnosed at an early stage. The other treatment modalities include chemotherapy (pills or injection), radiation therapy (external beam or internal brachytherapy), targeted therapy, and photodynamic therapy (PDT)

Type of Surgery

Depending on the type and extent of cancer, the following types of surgeries can be conducted:

  • Wedge resection: Removal of a small wedge-shaped portion of the cancer-containing region in the lung along with some healthy tissue
  • Lobotomy: Removal of one lobe of lung if cancer is restricted to just one part of the lung
  • Pneumonectomy: Complete removal of one lung
  • Lymph node removal: Removal of the lymph nodes in the chest if the cancer cells have spread

The cost of lung cancer surgery, thus, depends on the approach that the surgeons use to treat the patient. This, in turn, again depends on the overall health of the patient and the status of the cancer extent.

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Number of Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy Cycles

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy, if conducted, cost additional to the surgery. The overall cost of lung cancer treatment, therefore, also depends on the number of radiation and chemotherapy cycles advised to the patient.

Usually, patients are advised to undergo 4, 6, 8, or 12 cycles of chemotherapy, depending on the status of cancer and the choice of the drug. The chemotherapy drug is selected depending on whether it is likely to work for the patient or not.

On the other hand, the patient may be advised to undergo 5 or 6 cycles of radiation therapy, which again may vary depending on cancer status. Radiation therapy is mostly conducting on an OPD basis from Monday through Friday for 5 or 6 weeks. That is, total 25 to 30 sessions of radiation is usually recommended to cancer patients. However, this may change depending on whether the patient has had surgery for tumor removal or not.

Cost of Medications and Life-Long Care

Lung cancer patients are usually required to continue to take medications and attend follow-up sessions with the doctor throughout their life. Some level of waitful watching and active surveillance is required to keep cancer recurrence in check. All of this adds on to the total cost that the patient has to bear.

Average Cost of Lung Cancer Treatment: Top Countries

The following table highlights the average cost of lung cancer treatment in some of the top medical tourism destinations in the world:

Procedure

India

Thailand

Singapore

UAE

Turkey

US

Lung cancer surgery

(pneumonectomy)

$4500

$7000

$20000

$9000

$7000

$20000

Chemotherapy

$2300 to $4000

$2160 to $3500

$7200 to $12000

$25000 to $30000

$2000 to $4000

$13000 to $30000

Radiation Therapy

$3000 to $5000

$4000 to $6000

$20000 to $35000

$15000 to $25000

$6000 to $20000

$12000 to $30000

Lung Cancer Surgery Cost Itemized Breakdown

Pre-surgery Costs

Surgery Cost

Post-surgery Costs

  • Physical examination
  • PET-CT Scan
  • MRI
  • FNAC
  • EBUS (if conducted)
  • Biopsy
  • Blood workup
  • Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (if required)
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Lung function test
  • Chest X-ray
  • Anticoagulants and antibiotics
  • Painkillers
  • Surgery team fees
  • Anesthesia charges
  • OT charges
  • Other consumables and medicines
  • Blood transfusion, if needed
  • ICU charges
  • Ventilator cost (if needed)
  • Oxygen charges
  • Medications for pain relief
  • Other special consumables
  • Medications
  • Hospital bed charges
  • Biopsy
  • Any additional service availed
  • Any other consultation
  • Complications management
  • Unanticipated care
  • Follow-up cost
  • Adjuvant chemotherapy (if required)
  • Radiation therapy (if required)
  • Palliative care

Cost of Accommodation, Food, and Local Travel

Patients who travel from abroad to a particular country for treatment have to bear an additional cost of hotel accommodation, local traveling, and food. This additional cost on top of the treatment cost depends on individual preferences. For example, a patient may decide to stay in a 3-star, 4-star or a 5-star accommodation and prefer to eat exquisite cuisine during his or her stay. The cost increases with an increase in the level of luxury that a patient looks to have.

The following table highlights the approximate cost of accommodation and food in some of the most popular medical tourism destinations:

Cost

(per night/day)

India Thailand Dubai Hungary Turkey Singapore
Accommodation (3-star) $30 $25 $70 $30 $20 $60
Accommodation 4-star) $40 $36 $80 $45 $30 $90
Accommodation (5-star) $75 $76 $115 $80 $44 $120
Meal for Two Individuals $20 $26 $50 $35 $42 $90

Internationally Recognized JCI-certified Hospitals For Lung Cancer Treatment

Country

Hospital

India

Indraprastha Apollo Hospital (Delhi NCR)
Artemis Hospital (Delhi NCR)
SevenHills Hospital (Mumbai)
Fortis Group of Hospitals (Pan India)

Turkey

Hisar Intercontinental Hospitals
Medicana International
Memorial Healthcare Group

Thailand

Vejthani Hospital
Bangkok Hospital

UAE

Zulekha Hospital (Dubai)
Aster DM Healthcare (Dubai
Al Zahra Hospital (Sharjah)
NMC Royal Hospital (Abu Dhabi)

Singapore

Gleneagles Hospital
Parkway East Hospital
Mount Elizabeth Hospital
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