Skin cancer treatment cost in the United States has significantly increased yearly. The combined cost of drugs and skin cancer treatment is the highest cost among other types of cancer. It is currently estimated that the cost of skin cancer treatment in the United States is $8 billion annually. This can happen because skin cancer is a prevalent type of cancer experienced by Americans.
If you want to know skin cancer treatment costs per individual, this depends on the type of skin cancer suffered. For types of skin cancer, we can group them into three big ones:
- Basal cell carcinoma is the most prevalent type of skin cancer. It typically manifests as small, fleshy bumps or nodules on the head or neck but can occasionally occur in other places. Although this cancer is slow to spread, it can cause bone deterioration in the affected area.
- Squamous cell carcinoma: This type of skin cancer manifests in nodules or red, scaly patches. These tumors have the potential to grow into huge masses and spread to other areas of the body.
- Melanoma: The most deadly form of skin cancer, melanoma accounts for only 3% of skin cancer diagnoses but accounts for over 75% of deaths. UV exposure, severe sunburns (especially during childhood), hereditary factors, and immune system deficiencies are also risk factors.
Skin Cancer Precursors Treated
Different therapies and treatment methods depend on skin cancer or its precursor. Surgery should always be performed on the most aggressive type, malignant melanoma (black skin cancer), to prevent further spread to other organs, which can be fatal.
Surgery can be avoided early in white skin cancer, such as actinic keratosis or Bowen’s disease. Rather than that, excellent treatment outcomes can be achieved using photodynamic therapy (PDT).
In general, the treatment of skin cancer can be grouped into the following stages:
- Surgery: primary skin cancer treatment.
- Radiation therapy: is used to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors by administering high doses of radiation.
- Chemotherapy and chemical peels: employ drugs to destroy cancer cells, inhibit their division, or expel them from the skin. These medications are available in a variety of formulations:
- Through injection
- Through infusion
- By skin application
We can estimate the skin cancer treatment cost based on the type of skin cancer and the treatment above. Numerous skin cancer treatments are available, including chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation — and their prices vary significantly. Numerous cancer medications, particularly immunotherapy medications, are prohibitively expensive.
Skin Cancer Treatment Cost for Surgery
Cancer removal involves multiple surgical appointments, pathology readings, follow-ups, and cosmetic repairs. Those appointments come at a cost – not only in terms of medical bills but also in transportation costs and income lost due to time away from work. Additionally, because multiple providers frequently perform these services, you will need to add numerous quotes to arrive at the final dollar amount. The Mohs surgery fee may appear high until you realize it includes everything and is typically performed in a single visit.
Additionally, because the Mohs surgery has a low recurrence rate, it significantly reduces or eliminates the cost of future surgeries for recurrent skin cancers. Other skin cancer surgical techniques are more likely to require multiple surgeries to remove cancer, each with associated costs.
The researchers estimated the patient’s out-of-pocket expense for an excision plus a sentinel node biopsy would be $652. The cost of the excision alone would be $79.
Skin Cancer Treatment Cost for Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy may be the primary treatment if a vast tumor is located in a difficult-to-remove skin area. Radiation therapy may also benefit some patients who cannot undergo surgery due to another health condition. Radiation therapy is frequently curative for small basal or squamous cell skin cancers and can slow the progression of more advanced cancers.
Radiation is also beneficial when used in conjunction with other treatments. For instance, radiation can be used as an adjuvant (additional) therapy following surgery to eliminate any small areas of remaining cancer cells that were not visible during surgery. This reduces the risk of cancer recurrence following surgery. Additionally, radiation may assist in treating skin cancer that has spread to lymph nodes or other organs.
Radiation therapy costs vary according to the type of treatment received, the number of treatments required, and the cost of healthcare in your area. Radiation therapy in a hospital setting for a non-melanoma skin lesion can cost between $2,000 and $8,000.
Skin Cancer Treatment Cost for Chemotherapy and Chemical Peels
Chemotherapy, or chemo, is a type of drug therapy used to eradicate cancer cells that spread rapidly. It is used to treat cancer and alleviate associated symptoms such as pain.
If you have been diagnosed with cancer, your doctor may recommend chemotherapy alone or in combination with other treatments. In either case, you’re likely to have many questions, including the cost of chemotherapy.
Navigating these costs can be overwhelming, which is understandable. Any emotions you have are legitimate.
It may be beneficial to learn about chemotherapy costs before beginning treatment. This way, you can gain a better understanding of what to anticipate.
Numerous of them are new medications with a hefty price tag. According to the National Cancer Institute, new cancer drugs could cost more than $100,000 per patient annually.
Hidden Costs of Skin Cancer Treatment
When determining the skin cancer treatment cost, it is necessary to consider more than just the treatment itself. Additionally, there is the cost of missed workdays, potential travel expenses, potential childcare expenses, and a slew of other charges that are nearly impossible to account for.
Direct costs associated with treating BCC were estimated to be $401 per case, while indirect and intangible costs were estimated to be $202. The estimated direct cost of treating SCC was $4,379 per case, while the indirect cost was $2,978.
In simple terms, you must consider the cost of the treatment itself and at least 50% more to account for indirect and intangible costs.
The difficulty in estimating the skin cancer treatment cost is that it varies significantly according to the type and stage of the disease. The hidden cost of removing an extremely early SCC is almost certainly only the time required for a single consultation. The hidden costs of stage IV melanoma that need multiple hospital visits and time off work for recovery will be significantly higher.
If you want to search about Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC); its causes and how to overcome it, you can read Advanced Basal Cell Carcinoma: Causes And How To Overcome Them on this blog.