Cost of Cancer - How Expensive is Cancer?

A list of common medications for various types of cancer along with other treatments, and costs of cancer.

Cancer is anticipated to become leading cause of death world wide by 2010. Breast cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, brain tumors, leukemia, you just wouldn't know what hit you until the damage is done. Cancer patients deal with emotional distress, hopelessness, and the effects of cancer itself to the body--ten times all that, the financial wreckage.


Families would usually bleed themselves dry of money trying to fight off cancer, though few had actually survived. If patients even recover, they are faced with lifelong debts and struggle.

In a 2008 study, the overall protracted cost of cancer shoot up to $228.1 billion, and is still expected to double in the coming years. Direct medical cost of cancer amounts to $93.2 billion, while indirect morbidity costs and mortality costs of cancer accounts for $18.8 and $116.1 billion.

Insurance companies are flinching by the increase in cost of cancer, and would no longer pay for medications. The majority of families suffer financial crisis due to the cost of cancer. Worst of all, prices of cancer medication are still on the rise.

Cost of Cancer

Below is a list of common medications for various types of cancer along with other treatments, and costs of cancer.

* Avastin is an approved medication for treating metastatic colorectal cancer, advanced lung cancer, ovarian cancer, and if combined with paclitaxel, a type of chemotherapy, can treat HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer MBC. Cost of cancer - $4,400 monthly for Avastin drug alone.

* Erbitux is a drug for targeted therapy of head, neck, and colorectal cancer or colon cancer, manufactured by ImClone/Bristol-Myers. Cost of cancer -$17,000 monthly - one of the most expensive drugs ever made.

* Zevalin treats rare cancer types such as lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, or NHL, is a type of malignant cancer that occurs within the lymphatic system. Cost of cancer - $24,000 monthly - the most expensive.

* Gleevec is a treatment pill for many types of blood cancer: Philadelphia chromosome positive chronic myeloid leukemia (Ph+ CML), Ph+ acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL), MDS/MPD or myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative diseases associated with PDGFR gene rearrangements, and gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Cost of cancer - $2,600 monthly.

* Chemotherapy is a known treatment for various types of cancer, using combinations of drugs, radiation therapy, and surgery. Cost of cancer - $2,200 per 10 day cycle.

* Herceptin treats HER2-overexpressing, node-positive or node-negative (ER/PR-negative or with one high-risk feature)† breast cancer. Cost of cancer - $3,000 monthly.

* Nexavar is used for treating advanced renal cell cancer and Hepatocellular carcinoma, or HCC. Cost of cancer - $4,300 monthly.

* Revlimid is for patients with previously treated multiple myeloma, and those with deletion 5q myelodysplastic syndromes, or MDS. Cost of cancer - $4,500 monthly.

* Rituxan is a medication used for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia with previously treated or untreated CD20-positive CL, and Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Cost of cancer - $13,000 monthly.

* Sutent treats GIST or gastrointestinal stromal tumor and advanced kidney cancer or advanced renal cell carcinoma, RCC. Cost of cancer - $4,000 monthly.

* Tarceva is an approved cancer pill for advanced non-small cell lung cancer, and advanced pancreatic cancer. Cost of cancer - $2,700 monthly.

Cancer Costs a Fortune

In 1996, a cancer patient would spend $500, and live for the next 11 months. Today, a patient spends $250,000 on drugs and medication for an expected survival of 24 months.

Why mind the cost if it is to save a life, or give time? Whether cancer costs a fortune or not is a question you should answer for yourself.


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Eva Coombes
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