United States cancer cost skyrocketsTuesday, February 22, 2011 By Danny Mehmedi
A study released by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) on Jan.12, speculated that the cost of treating cancer could rise 66% by 2020, according to reports by CNN and other publications. Currently, the United States spends about $124 billion annually treating cancer, and a 66% increase would elevate this figure to about $205 billion every year. This estimation is the worst case scenario, taking into account that the cost of treating each patient rises 5% each year from year one until the end of treatment, and notes the fastest growing population in America is that of the elderly, who are at a higher risk for cancer. The NCI did two additional approximations, the first being a 39% increase in cost by 2020, which only assumes a 2% annual increase in treatment costs in the earliest and final stages of cancer, which is about $172 billion. The other projection takes no annual cost increase into account and only looks at the growing population of cancer patient. It is estimated at about 27%, coming out to over $157 billion every year. It is important to note that these projected price increases do not directly affect the patient, but are representative of how much it costs the U.S. to treat cancer patients. Although cancer patients may not have to pay billions, cancer treatment prices for the patients can seem just as staggering when one realizes that most pay these bills entirely on their own. The average cost of cancer treatment for the patient varies depending on what kind of cancer they have, where they get treated, the length of the treatments, and whether or not the patient has insurance. Chemotherapy, a chemical based cancer treatment, alone can run anywhere form $300-$800. Another possible treatment for cancer is radiation therapy; a 21 part treatment with an average cost of $4,472. A mammogram is a procedure that is instrumental in the diagnosis of breast cancer, and costs an average of $102 according to costhelper.com . However, many sates require health insurance plans to cover mammograms, so the cost for a patient with insurance could be completely covered or have a small co-pay ranging from $10-35. If breast cancer is found, the average costs for 10 treatments is about $21,000, and the average cost per hospitalization for breast cancer is $6,900 each visit. Both prostate and lung cancer average around $40,000 for treatment. An MRI is also a necessary procedure in diagnosing many cancers, and it was reported that one procedure costs between $1,100 and $2,700. Insurance may pay for some or all of these costs. These costs may seem overwhelming, but it’s hard to put a price tag on human life.